Powered by iReportSource
Are concepts like "responsibility" and "being held accountable" viewed negatively by your employees? Most likely, it's because leaders have tried to mandate responsibility from the top down. But that's not how responsibility works.
People are intrinsically motivated to fulfill their commitments for a range of reasons, none of which include being mandated -- at least not effectively nor sustainably.
A top-down approach makes employees feel like a kid again -- it doesn't cultivate trust and freedom -- and it doesn't motivate people to find their way to stay on top of things.
Instead, leaders can encourage more responsibility among employees by creating an organizational culture that promotes and cascades accountability through five areas of focus.
Gallup's research and consulting experience show that to promote accountability, leaders, and managers should:
1. Define what people are accountable for.
Employees need clearly defined expectations to achieve goals. Organizations may have evergreen responsibilities that support the organization's mission, values, and purpose - like customer-centricity or quality - that they need teams to focus on continuously.
At other times, companies may need employees to focus on accountabilities that are short term or long term, but not permanent, such as large-scale change initiatives.
But in every case, managers need to demonstrate accountability through their availability and time spent on defining what their team is responsible for.
2. Set and cascade goals throughout the organization.
Once employees clearly understand what they're accountable for, managers should help them set measurable, individualized goals that align with their role. Most, if not all, employees should have metrics defined that help them know if they're delivering on the organization's goals.
Next, leaders should prioritize ongoing communication about how everyone's contributions and successes impact the organization's achievements.
3. Provide updates on progress.
People need the right information to course-correct toward their goals.
Feedback can come from customer or employee surveys, ongoing project updates, key listening posts with critical stakeholders, or some combination of these. The most effective form of feedback, however, comes from frequent conversations between managers and employees.
When preparing to provide a progress update, managers should not ask themselves if they have all the data, but instead, if they have the correct data, which is performance orientated so they can speak to the behavior that has allowed the progress.
4. Align development, learning, and growth.
Whether through conversations between managers and employees or as part of an ongoing developmental path, organizations must provide opportunities for employees to improve, learn, and grow.
Gallup analytics show that millennials rank the opportunity to learn and grow in a job as being No. 1 - above all other job considerations - and it's high on the ranks for different generations as well.
Managers who focus on employee development help workers address the roadblocks that prevent their ability to deliver on goals while learning and growing in the role.
5. Recognize and celebrate progress.
Praise for good work is the most motivating of all forms of feedback.
Identify, celebrate, and learn from successes. It motivates employees to stretch and creates responsibility role models for others to follow.
What Promoting Accountability Looks Like in Practice
When leaders clearly define and communicate what the organization and employees are accountable for and committed to achieving, they are describing an ideal culture.
But as It's the Manager reports, "a major challenge for leaders of large organizations is that there is no common culture." Moreover, only about half of all workers -- and fewer m