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Five steps to creating a culture of accountability in your team

Five steps to creating a culture of accountability in your team

Let’s face it - work can often be faced-paced and pretty full-on when you’re managing a team. Your time and resources are often spread thin…yet still comes with high expectations of getting the job done. This is where accountability comes in.

It’s a fact that most individuals put their efforts into ‘the thing’ they are most accountable for first, and everything else then comes second. So here’s the issue - if your people don’t clearly know what that one ‘thing’ is, then chances are they will be doing lots of things only half as well as they could be, and none of them will be ‘the thing’ that is actually most important!

Whilst sometimes creating accountability can be seen as over-bearing and a form of micro-management, it is also the most important thing a leader should do for their team.

So how can you do it easily without it feeling like you’re setting your people up for a performance management conversation in a month’s time?

Here’s my suggested approach in five easy steps.

1.  Start by creating context. Connect the desired outcome with the topline goals of the business, your leadership outcomes and the team’s stated purpose for existing. This signals importance and helps them understand their efforts and achievements actually matter not only to the team, but also in the wider scheme of things as they also impact the whole company’s success.

2. Be clear what success looks like. Be specific about the goal, include timeframes - perhaps broken down into weekly milestones. It pays here to go into a level of detail beyond just the topline so that the elements of a quality output are understood.

3. Review your resources. Check that your team has the right resources and, if not, look at what else you can do to support of their objectives.

4. Get feedback. Ask your team what they think of the goal, gain agreement that it is achievable and, if not, why not?

5. Future-gaze. Finish with a discussion on what a successful outcome will bring, not just to them, but to all who stand to benefit.

6. Check in regularly. Make sure you check in on progress at regular, predetermined intervals to ensure resources are still adequate and to also help find solutions if/when they hit roadblocks.

7. Review the outcome. Celebrating success and/or reflecting on what was learnt along the way is the vital final piece in the cycle of accountability. If you don’t hold them accountable here, then your credibility, and that of your entire team’s, can be impacted.