When I work with organizations in an effort to make accountability a significant part of their culture I often hear people say, “I’m accountable but the people around me are not.”
Let’s assume for a moment that you are being accountable and do have a challenge with coworkers and teammates. You can serve these people around you by helping them be accountable, and in the end, helping yourself as well. Here are three ideas you can implement that will help others be accountable, get the job done and by them maintaining accountability you achieve your goals.
1. Always communicate your expectations with teammates.
Expectations drive action and action drives results. It is difficult to expect others around us to work to our desired level of performance if we do not clearly communicate what our expectations are. What are your expectations for completion time, quality of work, scope of the project, outcomes and ability to use the work going forward? The more information you communicate the more likely that the people around you will be right on target and that you will be thrilled with the results.
2. Ask people how you can best serve them.
Simply communicating expectations is not enough. Great leaders serve others. It is important to find out how you can best serve those around you as they endeavor to achieve their goals. By asking how you can be of service they have the opportunity to share where they may be weak, need assistance, or just ask for greater clarification of your expectations. It all comes down to communication and you communicating that you want to do whatever it takes to insure their success.
3. Follow up before due dates to check progress.
Always follow up with the people around you before due dates arrive to find out how they are doing. This shows you care and it also provides the opportunity for them to express where they may be running into roadblocks. It is always easier to solve a problem when time is not working against you. By not abdicating from your team you show that you are involved and willing to provide the support they need throughout the process.
There are times when we need a little assistance being accountable and there are times when we can help others around us. If everyone helps someone else be accountable we create an environment where accountability is expected, encouraged and achieved. When you implement these three steps you are making accountability your competitive advantage.