One of the major challenges that managers face is holding people accountable. Even after hiring great and highly skilled employees, there are times when managers feel that the employees could do more or better work. And, in a bid to avoid conflicts and unpleasant reactions, they often tend to avoid the task of holding employees accountable. Being a manager you need to ensure that all the employees are putting their best efforts and are doing the tasks they have been assigned, with high efficiency. However, in addition to assigning tasks and guiding them how to achieve the goals, it’s also important to set expectations for the employees and hold them accountable for results. This, sometimes, is a difficult thing to do, especially when you are dealing with difficult people, but you also need to keep in mind that it is crucial to get things done.
Accountability is not about taking the blame in case things go wrong. It’s about fulfilling the commitment of delivering results and not just doing tasks. And, as a manager you need to foster accountability in the people working for you. Let’s take a look at how you can hold people accountable as a manager.
- Set Clear Expectations
It’s important to set clear expectations for the employees so that they know what their job is. Be clear about what results you are looking for, how the employees should be achieving the goals and how you are going to measure success as a manager. Have clear, two-way conversation with people to generate ideas on how to achieve goals. Communicate what exactly you want from your employees and make sure they are on the same page as you are.
- Follow-Up Regularly
Follow-up is an extremely important step that many managers miss out amid their busy schedules. Once you have communicated your expectations, you need to follow-up to see if things are going the desired way. Not following-up often sends the wrong message that the work isn’t important. To hold people accountable, conduct regular meetings with your team to review things. It might sound like a time-consuming task but is extremely important for aligning the work with objectives. Scheduling meetings in advance can also help your team prepare well for the meeting to discuss the progress and decide the further course of action.
- Be Consistent
Be consistent with enforcing accountability. If you hold someone accountable for a task and leave others for the same, it may communicate a wrong message or may confuse them. As a manager, you also need to distinguish between actions and results. Making a lot of sales calls may show an employee’s hard-work but he/she also needs to be held accountable for getting results. Also, you shouldn’t negotiate on the expectations. Always keep the standards high and non-negotiable to avoid decline in performances. Communicate to the employees that lowered standards in work is not acceptable.
- Document Accountability
Enforce accountability in written form. It’s important to tell people about their accountability but it’s also important to document them in writing. This helps in eliminating confusion and keeping things explicit. Orally conveyed expectations can be denied but not the ones that are documented.
- Provide Constructive Feedback
Honest yet constructive feedback is crucial. When you set expectations for your team, it’s important to let them know how they are doing. Feedback can help them deliver better. Provide constructive feedback on how the employees are working with other stakeholders, how well they are delivering on their commitments and is everything on track or not. Tell them in what areas they need to improve and guide them how to do so. Also, invite feedback from them to know if there is anything that the management can do to make things easy and better.
- Communicate Consequences
Along with setting clear expectations, following-up regularly and providing resources to support the performances, you need to communicate the consequences. Those who succeed in getting you results can be rewarded appropriately and those who fail can be warned or released from the job. This might sound harsh but it is an important requisite for enforcing accountability. Not taking a strict action against those who are not performing is unfair for those who perform consistently. Knowing the consequences can drive performances. Also, you need to assess who is a good fit for the role and takes up accountability for the job assigned.
Being a manager isn’t a cake walk. It requires a fine balance between being firm and friendly. For getting results, you need to guide and support your teams as well as hold them accountable for their work.