Engagement keeps your team performing at their best. Accountability keeps your team on track and helps pinpoint potential problems before they erupt. It is critical to understand people’s love of feedback and hatred of accountability to avoid significant performance challenges.

Accountability lays the foundation for a high performing team.

Accountability reinforces rewards and punishments for a job well done and expectations not met. High performers deserve a pat on the back. A struggling team member’s performance problems need to discovered and discussed. They need additional training and opportunities to improve.

The critical questions to ask about holding people accountable.

To get started, there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself. How do you approach giving feedback and holding people accountable? Are you there stride by stride or are you checking in once in a great while? Did you set reasonable expectations for the employee’s abilities? Did they REALLY buy in or just agree to get you off their back? Did you emphasize the importance of discussing and overcoming obstacles TOGETHER? High performers like their independence but a wise leader knows it must be earned.

Feedback is critical.

Effective leaders know the secret to accountability is a frequent feedback given in a positive and constructive manner. They succeed by making incremental changes and by working shoulder to shoulder. To their team, it is no big deal to see the boss off and on during the day. Effective leaders gain iron clad commitments. The team knows anything the boss asks for is important and their effort is not wasted. There is a high level of mutual trust and respect.

Accountability takes many forms. It does not need to be face to face or confrontational. It establishes time frames and methods of tracking progress. Asking for an update and keeping them accountable should not be a surprise. Ideally, They approach YOU with progress and potential problems. Many leaders have short meetings to track important projects while others may use a communication board for the same purpose. How you do it is up to you — just do it!

Accountability is a two way street.

Accountability gives employees the freedom to voice their opinions, concerns and suggestions about their work loads and juggling priorities. Most employees will need your opinion and approval to change priorities. As workload increases, effective leaders train their employees to know how to manage multiple projects as well as understand which projects are automatically a higher priority (typically this relates to importance of the individual customer as well as if they are a critical step in the process.)

Failing to hold your team accountable undermines your authority and can bring down the team and potentially, the company.

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