APRIL 16, 2024

Getting Traction Around Accountability

Leaders are really struggling with accountability for a number of reasons, from COVID, to hybrid work, to generational differences around the expectations of work.

If you can believe this, a client had an employee say to her, “Well, you asked me to work on this, but you didn’t ask me to complete it.”

On the flip side, employees are asking, “Who’s accountable, who’s accountable, who’s accountable?

Here are five ways to get traction around accountability. They all are parts of open communication.

Clearly Define The Problem

Only with a clear problem statement can you identify the solution. Create an open dialogue around what is actually happening, why, and what to do about it. A problem defined is a problem solved.

Radical Candor

Kim Scott’s advice is vital here. Be direct, but show you care personally. It’s the magic formula for good interpersonal communication, giving feedback, and being able to be honest.

Identify Gaps

How can people be held accountable without clear work plans? Is your team’s work aligned with the mission? How can someone be held accountable if you’re expecting this, but they’re doing that?

One client was tasked with Performance Management but was trying to get everyone in the organization to complete employee reviews during their busy season. When she saw evals were devalued as a priority, she had them moved to a slower time period, making it easier for managers to hold their employees accountable.

Ask For Help

Be proactive and reach out to other departments to gain alignment on approaches, to identify handshakes and handoffs, so you can respect each other’s lanes, and be sure to give each other what we need to execute with excellence.

If you’re the kind of person who thinks: I need to do this myself, or I’m in this for myself, you’ve got some more thinking to do.

Because of siloing, we don’t get the right people involved at the right time.

Bust Up Artificial Harmony

Don’t go along to get along, which negates everything I said above. Everything.

This often shows up as staff questioning, such as all those creative ways people find to ask “Why are we doing this when it’s just making our lives more difficult?” or “How is this impacting me?”

These questions don’t mean they’re self-absorbed. What’s really going on is people haven’t gotten their needs met, and no one wants to wear the label of being disruptive.

Let’s take the example of DEI. When people get “The Why”, they buy in.

Simple, but Not Easy

Yes, there’s something in the air, and people are sensitive and quick to judge, but there’s a way. We can teach it to you with our executive coaching.