How Accountability Can Save Your Organization and Leadership
I’ve often found that accountability is a common challenge for leaders. I’m not talking about accountability of their own actions – it’s rather holding their people accountable for their behavior. Most leaders will delay the sometimes difficult conversation about accountability. Often they’ll even feel uncomfortable bringing it up and confronting their team members.
You could put it off all you want, but do so knowing the consequences. In this case, it has various levels that it can impact. At an individual level your team will continue to display displeasing behavior as they’re aware it’s not going to be reprimanded (and is possibly even ‘appropriate’). From the team’s perspective, other teams and functions will get seriously demotivated as they witness unfair and biased treatment (not to mention decline in productivity from them). From the leadership level you can expect disintegration of respect and authority that they enjoy and people are used to (not to mention loss of credibility). And finally at the organization level you’ll find companies that don’t hold their employees liable or accountable for their actions tend to operate at subpar levels (you could even say they’re harvesting mediocrity).
It’s pretty clear the dangers of not actively holding people accountable are dire. So, if you could put aside your reservations and fears, muster the courage to finally confront your team and stop listening to that irritating voice in your head that keeps telling you things aren’t so bad, you could take up these tips to enhance accountability in your team and organization.
1. Focus on Behaviors
Calling a team member out for not delivering on their targets, deadlines and milestones is easy and pretty straightforward. If they don’t deliver you give them a piece of your mind and then everyone moves on. Unfortunately, that’s never going to get to the root issue at hand. To address that you have to focus on the specific negative behaviors that resulted in results not being achieved. By correcting their behaviors you’ll be able to drive the appropriate action from your team that’ll ensure results.
2. Communication Frequently
Holding people accountable is just 20% discipline and 80% communication. And that’s why you’ll need to communicate candidly and frequently. Also, by openly communicating with your team you’ll be dismissing any misconceptions and misunderstandings. That’s why you’ll need to clearly explain to your team the consequences of their behavior and walk them through the solution.
3. Be a Mentor
By putting on your mentorship hat you’ll be able to guide your team towards a path that they choose willingly. Rather than spelling things out for them and answering all their questions, try being their mentor and enabling them to answer for themselves. This way they’ll be able to answer why they do the things they do and why things are happening in a way that’s not correct. The answers they find themselves will have a lasting impact on them, more than just being reprimanded or given answers and direction.
4. Keep Your Eyes On the Goal
You know that little voice in your head that starts talking, silence it! If you listen to it you’ll never be able to transfer ownership to your teams and hold them accountable for their actions and behaviors. That’s why it’s imperative you keep your eyes on the goal. This will be your greatest contribution to yourself, your team members and the organization.
Accountability is the key to delivering desired results and ensuring you and your team work towards a common goal, always. As a leader, your reputation depends on being bold enough to side aside your emotions, stepping out of your comfort zone and holding everyone in your organization accountable.
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