What if nobody took responsibility for anything at work, and it was your fault?
Team accountability is a major issue facing leadership in the workplace. When responsibilities and expectations aren’t clear, your workers may do more than drop the ball on major assignments. They may even try to make endless excuses about how they thought various important tasks were supposed to be taken care of by someone else.
Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to restore both individual responsibility and overall workplace productivity. Keep reading to discover our top tips for improving team accountability.
1. Put a Single Person in Charge of Certain Responsibilities
One of the most important skills for any manager is the ability to delegate responsibilities. One way to do that is to put a single person in charge of a particular task, and make sure that person and their team understand that the buck on this matter stops with them.
It may sound simple, but this helps improve employee responsibility and accountability when everyone knows that a single person is in charge of getting something done. That person will also be on their toes because they have some real skin in the game — if something goes wrong with this particular task, there will be no mistake about who is responsible.
2. Make Everyone Part of Setting the Agenda and Conducting Meetings
Be honest: have you ever noticed that glazed look in your workers’ eyes during a meeting? That happens because most meetings are “sit and get” style, with everyone just sitting quietly and listening to the boss talk. Unfortunately, this makes it easy for them to tune out some of what you are saying because they don’t feel tangibly involved in the meeting.
Instead of that meeting style, we recommend getting the entire team involved, from setting the agenda to leading the meeting. Such a move is empowering because it literally gives everyone a voice in matters affecting the entire team. Once the entire team is involved with goal-setting, everyone will feel a bit more accountable for bringing the shared goal to life.
3. Discuss Team Accountability in a Friendly, Open Meeting
When you want to create a more accountable team, you must deal with an unexpected obstacle: employee fear. Generally speaking, if you discuss the topic of accountability with a single employee or even a few employees at a time, they will become paranoid that this is some kind of reprimand. In short, they’ll think they’ve been doing something wrong, which will likely cut into their productivity and, frankly, their mental health.
Instead, we recommend having a friendly, open meeting with your entire team. Discuss how important accountability is to accomplish your organizational goals (more on this later). It’s subtle, but your goal here is to make improving accountability something that everyone is equally onboard with and committed to all at once rather than making select employees paranoid, one at a time, by conducting individual meetings.
4. Formalize the Most Accountable Positions
It’s become a bit of a cliche for a worker to ask, “May I get that in writing?” But if you really want more accountable employees, then you need to formalize who is accountable for what in various organization charts, emails, meetings, and even team management software.
Doing this accomplishes two related goals: first, it helps to reinforce an individual’s responsibilities when they realize they have a very formal, very specific duty. Second, this technique ensures that everyone else knows who is responsible, which helps improve individual and team communication and removes any lingering confusion over who needs to do what.
5. Master the Art of the Simple Follow-Up
Here’s some good news: as a manager, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel to create a more accountable team. In fact, one of the best ways to make workers more accountable is one of the oldest tricks in the book — the simple follow-up.
The follow-up may come in the form of an email, a visit to someone’s desk, or even an informal conversation when you share an elevator. However you do it, following up like this reminds workers that you haven’t forgotten what they were supposed to do and that you are keenly aware that the task remains unfinished. This is often enough to “light a match” under employees who otherwise might brush that particular responsibility off.
6. Use Transparent Communication to Provide Purpose
Believe it or not, one of the biggest issues affecting your workforce is that the average employee doesn’t really feel a strong sense of purpose. That sometimes affects how they approach certain responsibilities you have given them. Basically, it’s tough for the average employee to get motivated when they don’t know why they are doing something or why it’s so important.
This is why we recommend being transparent about how the responsibilities you are assigning are very important to you and the entire organization. If possible, you can even provide analytics data that shows how much of an impact both individuals and teams have had on your goals. Such a strategy helps provide employees with an overall sense of purpose and a renewed understanding of how important their contributions are to the company.
7. Improve Employee Recognition
Along with not feeling much of a sense of purpose, it’s not uncommon for employees to feel nearly invisible in the workplace. When they don’t feel recognized, it’s difficult for these workers to feel accountable, and they are likely to look elsewhere for work.
By regularly recognizing employee achievement, you can naturally improve your worker retention rate. At the same time, calling employees out for awesome accomplishments reminds them that you do notice them and care about their performance. This naturally makes motivated workers more accountable, all while reminding everyone about the importance of celebrating major accomplishments.
Put Your Leadership Skills to Work Today!
Now you know more about how to improve team accountability as a leader in the workplace. But do you know where you can do the most possible good with your leadership skills?
Here at Confie, we specialize in providing leaders just like you with the opportunities you deserve. Ready to see how far you can go with an entire company at your back? To discover what we can do for you and your career, feel free to reach out online or just give us a call at 714-252-2500!