Teach Your Employees To Be Accountable
By Drue Lawlor, FASID
Director of Coaching at Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting
Do your employees know that you expect them to be accountable? Or do you avoid addressing accountability because you want to avoid confrontation? If you teach your employees to be accountable they will feel more productive and if they are then adding to the bottom line of the business, you will be able to reward them accordingly with a bonus – a positive result for everyone. Following are some suggestions to help assure accountability.
It’s only common sense that for the most productive team, you assign team members the work they do best. A survey from the Via Institute of Character has shown that employees are more engaged in their work and perform better when they and their employers focus on building their strengths, rather than improving their weaknesses. These results should not be surprising but how do you best identify the strengths of each of your employees and make sure they have the right skills for the jobs they are doing?
When you go beyond just being an employer and instead become a coach to encourage your team to work to their strengths, both the team members and the firm succeed. A great resource to use is the CliftonsStrengths (formerly the Clifton StrengthsFinder). Among the products they offer is the CliftonStrengths assessment, a powerful online assessment that helps individuals identify, understand, and maximize their strengths. When exploring the ways in which each of your team members naturally think, feel and behave, Clifton StrengthsFinder can then pinpoint and further develop the areas where they can then grow and be successful.
Once members of your team have taken the assessment then build on that by having meaningful conversations with them about the strengths identified and assign tasks related to their individual strengths.
You also need to be sure you are providing necessary training to help assure your team members will be successful. This is an investment well worth the cost both financially and time involved.
Be sure that your team is being held accountable on a consistent basis through communication and processes as this will create a mindset of internal accountability – a mindset that can be a valuable element of the culture of your firm.
Provide frequent feedback. Research shows employees are more engaged when they receive feedback once a week. In addition regular and frequent team meetings help the team to stay focused on the goals of their current project or projects. These meetings should happen weekly, or sometimes daily, but ideally they should last no more than 20 minutes. In that short time period team members hold each other accountable for commitments made related to current projects.
Consistency in offering regular feedback helps your team members understand how their performance and choices affect the firm as a whole. Consider a structured incentive plan to give recognition to those on your team who directly affect an increase in your bottom line.
Finally, in the words of Stephen Covey: “Accountability breeds response-ability.”