One of the most important aspect of management is to hold its employees accountable. If you are unable to hold employees accountable then be prepared to have a stagnancy in your business. For higher productivity in any organization responsibility has to be shared between all employees. Employees who are accountable will deliver on the commitments and those who are not will give excuses.
Task of a leader is clearly to hold his people accountable without resorting to aggressive methods that reduces motivation and further decreases performance. Keep in mind that most of the people want to remain responsible and achieve their goals. But many a times organizations gets trapped in the culture of mediocrity and most often it starts from the top. If the bosses tolerate poor results, it starts breeding the culture where employees lose their sense of accountability.
If you want your employees to be accountable take care of these few things:
1. Hire The Right People
Accountability starts and ends with the talent of the people we hire. Right from the beginning do not accept the culture of mediocrity and hire only the people with the best talents and skills. At the same time management will do them good if they don’t allow mediocrity in their senior employees too. If the new employee sees that everyone else at the job is working to best of their potential and are held accountable, they adjust to the environment accordingly. On the other hand the new employee who comes bubbling with enthusiasm and energy will quickly fizzle out if the culture of the organization do not reward merit of its people.
2. Define Expectations Clearly
It is known to all that communication is the key to productive workforce. Spell clearly to your employees, what are your expectations from them. When employees have a well defined job profile, their productivity takes a quantum jump. It is advisable that you get these expectations documented. Make it a two way conversation and let people write them down themselves so that they get full clarity. Ask them to give their own strategies and how they will judge their success. It will be useful if you make them understand how their responsibilities are in line with the corporate goals. When held accountable to specific and measurable performance employee motivation and productivity increases.
3. Supervise Regularly
Out of sight is out of mind, and it holds true for enhancing employee accountability too. If you don’t supervise regularly, not only your employees, but you also will lose sight of the goals. It is advisable to keep an eye on your employees on a consistent basis. Allow enough freedom to your employees that they make their own decisions in the areas that affect their work. Don’t define how you want a task to be completed but define what and why that is significant to the company. You need to be productivity focused while still allowing enough breathing space to your people that they enjoy their work and don’t suffer burnout. Don’t attempt to micro manage their affairs.
4. Reminders And Follow-Up
A good leader is like a gyroscope that is useful for maintaining orientation and direction. Whenever you find some of your employees are going astray, it is time for you to intervene. This require a lot of patience and practice. Remind them about the final outcome that is required and how they need to correct their behavior. It helps if you incorporate these reminders and follow-ups into a system. Periodic performance reviews are essential for increasing employee efficiency.
At the same time it is equally important that you make it clear that you also are willing to grow and change with them. Any critical feedback that you receive regarding yourself, should merit equal attention. Let your employees know that their opinion matters. Ask them how you could help them get to their goals. This culture of open dialogue and feed back will help the company in increasing accountability and continued development of the workforce.
5. Be Transparent
To maintain accountability in the team, leaders are required to be transparent about the responsibilities, success and shortcomings. Use data and analytics to hold your employees accountable. Workers should know clearly that they are judged against solid measurable data rather on the whims of bosses. A business that relies on analytics and intelligence always breed the culture of accountability.
6. Disciplinary Actions
There are situations when despite giving adequate opportunities, support and feedback there are some employees who do not correct their behavior. Disciplinary actions become necessary against such unproductive employees, though this needs to be the last resort for a great leader. When taking such an action, take care that you reprimand the employee for their unproductive or faulty behavior and do not say something against them personally.
An organization with the culture of accountability makes clear to its people the consequences of not being up to the prescribed standards. Disciplinary actions become necessary in many cases and you as a leader are required to make the company policy in such conditions very clear, so that people know that they are being penalized because they have failed to follow company norms. Once the norms are in place it is equally important that you don’t just announce but implement them too. For high efficiency get rid of lethargy in the employees and show that you are serious about the outcomes. Remember many a time it is not the people who we hire but people whom we don’t fire cause biggest damage to business.
These all steps work together to enhance the culture of accountability in the company. You as a leader must ensure that you follow all these to avoid a situation where team feels demotivated instead empower your employees so that they think themselves as the integral part of the company and take all the responsibilities for the desired outcome.
Related article: How To Motivate Your Employees