Accountability: Do Employees Do What They’re Suppose to Do?

Sections of this topic

    “When I gave them their marching orders and they were nodding their heads, I figured they knew what to do and were going to do it.”

    I recently heard this from a healthcare manager who was not too happy when the project got behind schedule and the blame game took over. Managers can’t mandate employee accountability, they need to encourage it. Here are three tips to generate employee commitment.

    1. First, get real buy-in.
    You may think that when you present the reasons for change and the plan is solid, the majority of people will buy in automatically. But that doesn’t match up to reality. People will be leery until you deal with their questions, anxieties, and concerns. Read “I’m committed, why isn’t everyone else?”
    2. Set a crystal clear direction.
    It must be like a lighthouse, a bright and focused beacon that guides everyone’s work. If people don’t understand precisely where they are headed and how they specifically contribute to the overall results, then it’s only sheer luck that they will succeed.
    3. Make sure everyone stays on the course.
    It’s usually in the middle of a change effort that work starts falling through the cracks, milestones aren’t met and stress is affecting everyone’s morale. This is when management is needed to keep the right hands and the left hands working well together. One organization I worked with had weekly cross-departmental meetings for communication updates, coordination issues, and problem-solving.

    Management Success Tip:

    Realize you can’t mandate accountability, you must demonstrate it. Instead of pointing fingers when trouble arises, look to yourself first. Ask these four specific questions:

    • What is the real problem not just what surfaces?
    • What am I doing or not doing to contribute to the problem?
    • What will I do differently to help solve the problem?
    • How will I be accountable for results?

    As one leader said, “It’s in my bones now. I work to demonstrate accountability every day to myself, the leadership team, and our organization’s talent.”

    Do you want to develop your Management Smarts?