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How Leaders Can Encourage Accountability

When you’re a leader of an organization or manager, the most straightforward way to get things done within the company is to simply tell employees what you want and need from them. However, it seems—at least for many CEOs and managers—that every time they tell their employees to do something, they either end up doing something else entirely or nothing at all. They’ll find their teams focusing on the wrong thing or slacking off. What’s worse is that once you confront your employees about this, they would either immediately blame it on someone or something else or shrug their shoulders as if to say they have no idea what went wrong.

As a leader, it’s saddening and quite frustrating to see this lack of responsibility and accountability among your employees. So now you’re wondering, How can I get my employees to successfully accomplish the tasks they’ve been given?

How to promote accountability in the workplace

Clearly define expectations

According to Gallup, many of the times a lack of accountability in employees is simply because managers aren’t clear about their expectations. Simply “telling employees what to do” means you’re leaving the results and outcomes of the task or project in the hands and mercy of your employee, which can be completely different from the results you’re expecting.

Instead of ordering your employees around, once you assign a project to them, tell them how you want the outcome to turn out and what you want the results to look like. Let your employees ask questions and give them the chance to fully understand these expectations. Having these two-way conversations with your employees will lessen the chances of miscommunication and getting the wrong idea across.

Set goals and objectives, together

As important as it is to set clear expectations, you would want your employees to work towards a goal so that they’ll be able to make well-thought-out decisions.

Make sure to set these goals with your employees present. Allow them to help you brainstorm goals and objectives for the department or company. This will create a sense of responsibility in them towards achieving that goal because they are the ones who contributed in setting those goals, which will make them go the extra mile to achieve them.

Provide opportunities for development and growth

Your employees aren’t only working for you, they’re also working for themselves. Employees come to your company seeking opportunities for advancement in their careers. They want to improve their skills, learn something new, and grow on a personal and professional level. According to Gallup, the opportunity to grow and learn is on the top of the list of job considerations for millennials and newer generations.

If you want your employees to be held more accountable for the actions they take and the goals they set out to achieve, give them the space to learn and improve as they go. If there’s a project that requires a certain skill that you know employee X has and is interesting in improving, then assign them that project. If employee Y wants to improve their managerial skills, then give them tasks and short-term projects that would allow them to put that skill into practice.

Ask for updates

Once you’ve done all the steps mentioned above, don’t just leave your employees to their own devices—ask for progress updates from employees and monitor their performance throughout the week or quarter. This will keep your employees in check, and therefore, reignite their sense of accountability towards the task, goal, or project at hand.

It’s hard to give feedback and constructive criticism, but it’s well worth it to build a company culture that encourages this. If some of the data you’re receiving on your employee’s performance, whether through client surveys or your employee’s project updates, isn’t looking very promising, schedule a call or meeting with your employee(s) to discuss the data you’ve received. Create a dialogue between you and the employee(s) in question and give the necessary feedback for them to improve.

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