Join Lisa Gates for an in-depth discussion in this video Managing accountability, part of Coaching and Developing Employees.
Simply stated, accountability involves making agreements and closing the loop on three questions. What, by when, and how will I know. What is your employee agreeing to? When will they do it? And how will you know they accomplished it? In between making the agreement and closing the loop, lie all kinds of learning opportunities. This is where your employee takes the what, and turns it into how. Obviously, some actions and agreements are simple or transactional. Like scheduling a networking lunch and reporting back about the results. Others may involve more complex details, like organizing a charity event your company is sponsoring.
With long tail agreements like that, you'll want to guide your employee to establish accountability milestones. Encourage them to take responsibility for how and when they'll communicate their progress. This may be all review for you, but there's another layer of learning here to take on. Missed deadlines, botched actions, procrastination, and forgetfulness are all of the territory. In other words, failure has to be an option. It's another opportunity for growth. For you, this means support your employee, don't belittle their missteps. So let's take a look at how this might play out with our coachee Eric. He's been trying to get his team to implement his system and he's having challenges getting their buy-in.
So in this coaching session we'll blend a little bit from action and accountability. Eric: Bottom line. Uh-huh. Everyone feels the whole project is going to create a new system that going to break down just like the rest. Michelle: look. I know you're frustrated. Well why don't we turn this around, and look at things from their perspective. Now what would you need if you were in their shoes? Eric: I don't know. probably brainstorming more exploration. It is possible we moved to solution too fast.
Michelle: Mm-hm. Eric: I didn't give him enough time to think. Michelle: All right. And what's the prescription here? Eric: (LAUGH). I'd like to bag the whole idea. Michelle: Well that's one option. Eric: you know, I, I like to put it all together and say, you know what, the system is, needs fixing. You know, you do it. You figure it out. Michelle: I know you're frustrated but that actually sounds like a good idea to me. Now, how can you turn that around and reframe it in a way that inspires the team to take ownership? Eric: Okay. Well, I know I just can't say, you fix it.
I have to keep everyone focused on the big commitment to the big idea. Michelle: Mm-hm. Eric: We're going to be adding five team members at end of the quarter, and I need to find, to develop a scalable system. Michelle: So, what if the team comes up with a better plan than your original proposal? Eric: You kidding? I'm all for it. Michelle: Okay. So let's wrap up here. Let's set a deadline for the team's proposal to put that on the table. Eric: How about end of next week? Michelle: Sounds good. Now, how are you going to get that to me? Eric: Can I email it to you? Michelle: Sure. And who will be helping you create this proposal? Eric: everyone on the team. This is going to be rough.
Michelle: listen Eric. I am not going to agree with you about what you think you can't do. Now listen, you can do this. Eric: I know you're right. (LAUGH). Thanks. Michelle: You're welcome. >> Okay. Notice that Eric started out by complaining about his team, a familiar refrain for him. But Michelle was smart, she didn't add fuel to the fire.
An when Eric expressed his self doubt, she kept things moving forward by focusing on his top level goal, leadership. And once Eric discovered what actions he would take next, Michelle was able to guide him toward accountability by asking him for a deadline and deliverables. So, inspiring action and getting to accountability means holding people to their big picture goals and outcomes, and not letting them slide when things get a bit messy. I admit, standing strong like this takes courage.
But the payoff is immense.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Finding time to coach
- Establishing a relationship with your employees
- Asking powerful questions
- Becoming an active listener
- Maintaining accountability
- Using questionnaires and self-assessments
- Aligning professional goals with company objectives<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.