3 Keys to Holding your Team Accountable

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As a leader, one of our primary responsibilities is to ensure team members are delivering results and successfully completing what they are responsible for. When everyone is individually hitting their marks, the business wins.

To achieve this, accountability across the company is crucial. But, holding people accountable is challenging. It requires a balance of clarity, consistency, and empathy at the right time. Many leaders struggle with what to do when their team isn’t performing and find themselves asking this question on repeat >> Why isn’t everyone just doing what they are supposed to!?

Establish Clear Expectations

To hold your team accountable, you must first establish clear expectations. It’s very difficult for any of us to create success when we are not clear on the definition of success for a given scenario. Your team members should have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them and what the end results need to look like.

Communicate these expectations and goals in a way that ensures that everyone is on the same page and allows the team member to ask questions, express concerns and offer feedback. Make sure your team members understand how their work contributes to the overall success of the team and the organization. A sense of purpose and contribution is a powerful motivator.

Consistently Monitor Performance

We Get What we Inspect not What we Expect. Once you have established clear expectations, it is crucial to monitor your team’s performance. Team management is not a set it and forget it process. Regularly reviewing team members’ work and results, and providing timely feedback is a pillar of good leadership. 

As Brene Brown says ‘Clarity is Kind’. Never is this more true than when providing feedback. Because so many of us find negative feedback uncomfortable to give, it can be tempting to sugarcoat or gloss over things that aren’t working. Being wishy washy with feedback will not get you the results you are looking for and simply lead to more frustration for you and your team.

Foster a Culture of Accountability

Holding your team accountable is not just about monitoring performance and providing feedback. It is also about fostering a culture of accountability. Encourage your team members to take ownership of their work and hold themselves accountable for their actions and results. Create a culture where team members feel comfortable discussing their progress and challenges openly.

Leading by example is critical to creating a culture of accountability. When your team sees you not walking your own talk, they won’t feel motivated to own their results. Hold yourself accountable for your own actions and decisions, and demonstrate accountability with your team. 

While the above keys to accountability are not complex, they can be challenging to consistently maintain when you are the only one leading this charge in the business. As a Certified OBM®, one of my key responsibilities in the businesses I support is team accountability – setting clear expectations for the team, monitoring the execution of those expectations and encouraging ownership and leadership accountability.