Why Hold My Team and Myself Accountable?
I have a client in Alaska who runs a great business. She has been in business for almost twenty years and has a team she truly loves. They work together, they socialize together, they laugh together, and they seem to enjoy each other’s company.
During an off-site study group meeting, where I was a speaker,this client sat quietly for some time when the topic of Accountability came up.
This group of high-achieving women was talking about how frustrating it is when your team members don’t follow through and do the things they are expected to do.
Suddenly, my client spoke up. Here is what she said:
Recognizing the Need for Accountability
Client: You know what really makes me mad? My lead salesperson, who has been working in my office with me for over 10 years, has a problem with showing up for work on time. I mean, our phones start ringing at 9:00 a.m., and sometimes she’s not even in her seat until 9:15! It drives me crazy!
Me: Yes, that would make me mad too. How are you handling that?
Client: Well, I’m not sure what to do. I mean, the office opens at 9:00 a.m. She should be there at 9:00 I said something to her about it a while ago, but she either forgot or just doesn’t care that it bothers me.
Me: Either way, it seems that she doesn’t respect the rules of the office. And that’s a big deal. But an even bigger deal is the message you are sending to everyone else on the team when you let her get away with that. How do you think it’s affecting everyone else?
Client: Oh. (long pause) I guess I hadn’t really thought about that.
Me: You know, if being on time by having the butts in the chairs at 9:00 a.m. ready to go is the expectation, then she needs to be there at 9:00 a.m. with her butt in the chair ready to go. It’s not fair if everyone else on the team follows through on that commitment and she doesn’t. You are sending a loud message to everyone else on the team by doing nothing about it when she is so boldly not honoring your office rules. Is this your intent?
Client: No. You are right. I will have a talk with her when I get home. I feel terrible; I never realized how much this problem affected everyone.
My client loves her team. She wants to maintain a friendly relationship with each of her employees, but wants them to respect her. Setting standards, following them, and expecting everyone on the team also to follow them is a part of modeling what you want your team members to do and who you want them to be.
Accountability is Responsibility
When accountability measures are not in place, it’s hard to expect action. In fact, I’d say that it’s a waste of your time and resources to hold planning events and create action plans if you don’t intend to follow through. Talking about ideas, making plans, and dreaming of possibilities can build camaraderie and bring people together for brainstorming and team building purposes, but without accountability measure in place to track your progress, you have very little chance of meeting your goals.
At its core, accountability is the responsibility to act. It is the commitment to do the right thing and to stand by your decisions. I have found that this quality comes from within; ultimately, the individual must hold himself to the highest standard first. Without accountability, it is almost impossible to achieve outstanding results throughout the organization.
In my next post, I’ll discuss Building Accountability Within Your Organization.
I can help you develop accountability practices in your organization.
Order my book today or contact me at 425-241-4855 to schedule a workshop.