TLDR: Accountability isn’t about punishing people or making someone feel bad; instead, it’s about setting up conditions for success by providing high standards that challenge individuals and help them reach their potential.
Business leaders are often reluctant to hold their team members accountable because they worry it’ll lead to them quitting. We understand that you don’t want to risk losing a team member, especially with the cost and time associated with replacing them. That may lead you and your leadership team to avoid confrontations and not push your team members enough. But accountability isn’t about punishing people; it’s about setting high expectations that challenge employees and help them reach their potential.
How to Approach Conversations on Accountability
Leaders need to understand that accountability isn’t a “me vs you” situation, but rather an opportunity to show a commitment to developing that team member. By challenging individuals and holding them accountable in a positive and fair manner, you give them the gift of high expectations.
Here’s an example of how to do this: “Jeff, you’re doing a solid job. You can keep doing what you’re doing and always have a place here in this or a similar role. Or, I can push you, give you the gift of high expectations and hold you to what I think you’re capable of. And, one day you could be running a division/department/team, what would you rather have?”
Accountability works best when leaders set up the right environment and conditions for it. This means creating an atmosphere where employees feel valued, appreciated, and heard. It also includes creating a level playing field.
Set Clear Performance Expectations
Your employees should have clear expectations on performance and know how they will be measured (hopefully through an easy to use A-Player Score). When you have clear insight into your team’s activity, you can be more honest in discussing their performance and provide constructive feedback without feeling like you’re being too critical. You also have to make sure that employees have access to the resources they need to succeed – from training materials to coaching support – so they can meet their goals and are consistently improving.
High expectations can help create successful companies. For example, Amazon is known for its high standards and rigorous performance management process, which has helped them become one of the world’s most successful businesses. Similarly, Google has a culture of accountability where individual performance is measured against company goals on a regular basis, and people are rewarded for meeting those goals with bonuses or promotions.
Accountability and Recognition Go Hand in Hand
Giving the gift of high expectations requires more than just holding people accountable; it also involves creating an environment where employees are recognized for their efforts. Employees feel supported as they work towards achieving their goals and mandating recognition helps improve morale and motivate employees without any sort of threats or punishments. It’s important to recognize success when it happens and encourage everyone in your team by celebrating small wins along the way, so everyone feels motivated to reach their full potential.
Stream Season 2, Episode 2 of The Grow Show to find out more about how you can give your team members the gift of high expectations that will lead them towards success!