Teamwork skills - assigning accountability
A good manager knows how and why to assign accountability.Accountability is responsibility taken to the next level.You as the manager are responsible for your entire area of operation, often an hourly employee only sees the work as putting in their time.You have to change that feeling to the feeling that they own their area of responsibility and they will become accountable for its successes and failures.
The question becomes, how do you as the manager foster this feeling of ownership?Or how do you assign accountability?Once you are able to assign accountability, your job as a manager becomes much more simplified. You are now able to focus on your responsibilities instead of babysitting each area you are responsible for.
You must first demonstrate this accountability at the highest level possible in the company.If customer service is the number one priority, then all should be constantly thinking of this instead of just the receptionist.You must then empower your employees to make decisions and take appropriate action when an incident arises.This power will also give them ownership.
Now you must develop this accountability as a culture in your area of operation.Everybody is thinking in the same direction and willing to take the step necessary to achieve the goals.
To develop the culture, follow these steps:
1. Develop Standards: You must have the desired results clearly defined so your team can adopt accountability for the outcomes.These standards must become internalized for each employee.If you do not have standards yet, you may want to have the employees help develop the standards.You may want to have a few classes teaching the standards to the employees so there is no confusion.Now your entire team will know what is expected from them and each other.
2. Put Standards in Writing: You will want to have these standards printed and given to each employee.When a new employee is hired have the standards given to them as part of the in-processing routine.We have all played the telephone game where we learned that verbal messages change as they are passed from person to person. This handbook then becomes the basis for training and the standards remain constant.
3. Train the Big Picture: Employees will be more accountable for tasks they understand are more important. For instance, if an employee doesn't understand the liability associated with ice on the sidewalk, they may not be as concerned about keeping ice removed from the sidewalk as they should be.Hence, as a manager you will want to make sure your employees understand the big picture.When they know why different aspects of the business are important, they are more likely to take ownership and accountability for that area.
4. Assign Responsibilities: You may also want to specifically assign accountability for certain tasks to an employee or department.This will show that you trust them and you believe in them to get the tasks accomplished.You will build their self-esteem and they will take pride in their performance to accomplish the tasks they are accountable for.
5. Celebrate Positive Results: Recognize the work that is done correctly.The more recognition that is given the more likely the employee will be to repeat the same performance.Also, you must review or inspect the work.By reviewing the work, this shows the employees what you find important enough to check on.
In summary, assigning accountability is more than designating somebody responsible.You must determine and teach the standard.Next you must assign a department or person to be responsible and then review or check on the work.