“How do I Hold My Team Accountable?”… Without Sounding Like a Jerk!

Written By:  Tracy Civick

Today we will answer “How do I hold my team accountable?” and how do I do it without sounding like a jerk? Great news, it can be done and we will go through the steps to make it happen in this article.

Accountability means trusting another team member to handle a task. Accountability and growth are often connected, and high-performing teams have baked accountability into the core of their office culture. 

If you lead a team, how do you handle it when an employee doesn’t follow through on his/her duties? If you’re like most, you adopt the attitude of “If I want it done right, I’ll have to do it myself.” After a while you will take on everything yourself and you can quickly become a micromanaging, stressed, leader.

Micromanaging creates a culture of finger pointing and negative attitudes. When this happens, productivity plummets. How can you avoid this?

The solution is to recognize the difference between micromanaging and accountability.  Accountability means that you empower your team members to own the outcome of their work.  Every time a new team member is hired, they should be given a complete job description outlining expectations of the position. Once training is complete, the new team member should understand what is expected of them and feel empowered to produce successful results.

How do we hold team members accountable to deliver on their responsibilities? 

First, schedule monthly team meetings. I call these “landing the plane” meetings. You would never do maintenance on an airplane mid-air, right? Of course not. A plane lands, gets the tune-up, and then flies. Same concept with team meetings… you have to take time out to ensure that everyone is on the same page with expectations, goals, and systems.  Tip: always have an agenda for these meetings and stick to it!  These meetings should focus on productive results, not turn into a “gripe session”.

Second, be firm when you have to take action. If a team member is failing to meet expectations, it’s important for the leader to step in to diagnose the core issue.  Help the team member overcome the issue and then put a timeline on corrective action. 

Third, create a culture where both wins and losses are acceptable. Mistakes are learning opportunities to provide constructive criticism and redirect the employee towards the right path.  It’s imperative that team members feel safe to recognize their own failures.

As we’ve discussed in previous articles, the last thing to do is to identify the unique communication style of each of your team members.  At Team Culture Works, we use DISC strategies to better understand how to effectively communicate with others. If you’ve been following me, you should already have a list of each team member’s DISC style.  Once you have this, use the guideline below to understand how to best hold each communication style accountable.

Dominance – High “D” Style

• Talk in terms of bottom line and achievement

• Zero in on results with quick benefit statements

• Do the analysis and present solutions for them to approve or reject

• Give them choices backed with enough data and analysis to make an intelligent decision

• Use feedback questions to assist in clarifying the details and time frames

• Use Acknowledge-Clarify-Respond when encountering resistance

• Let them take the lead, when appropriate, but give them parameters

Influence – High “I” Style

• Interact as you share your perspective with them; use feedback questions to engage them and assist in summarizing details, directing these toward mutually agreeable objectives and action steps

• Show that you are interested in them

• Let them talk and be enthusiastic

• Illustrate your ideas and perspectives with stories and emotional descriptions that can relate to their interests

• Make suggestions that allow them to increase their prestige, image, or recognition

Steadiness – High “S” Style

• Show how you will support and assist where required

• Use feedback questions to assist in presenting new ideas in a non-threatening way

• Clearly define their roles and goals and include specific expectations of them

• Explain why change may be necessary and how long the changes will take

• Show the appropriate steps to follow

• Use Acknowledge-Clarify-Respond when encountering resistance

• Avoid rushing them and offer personal, concrete assurances

Conscientiousness – High “C” Style

• Provide information to them in writing

• Base your claims on facts, specifications, and data

• Allow them to think, inquire, and check before they make decisions

• Use feedback questions to assist in providing explanations and rationale

• Tell them the pros and cons and the complete story

• Follow-through and deliver on what you promise

• Use Acknowledge-Clarify-Respond when encountering resistance

To learn more about how to improve your team culture, contact me today at Tracy@TeamCultureWorks.com or 214-755-0955.  For more information about our Team Culture Camp programs, visit http://www.TeamCultureWorks.com.

Published by Team Culture Works

We teach teams how to use DISC COMMUNICATION tools to improve communication, eliminate gossip at work, and increase productivity.

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