Frequently in my training sessions I’ll ask the question, “How many of you agree that we do a lousy job of holding people accountable in the automobile business?” Without exception, they will all raise their hands.
Leaders that have figured out how to hold people accountable are the most successful when it comes to developing a culture of leaders and achieving high results.
Holding people accountable doesn’t have to be a negative experience. When people understand the expectations, they will seek to achieve those expectations, goals, objectives, culture or however you might want to frame it.
People tend to do the right thing when they know it’s in their best interest, not when you have to hit them over the head with a baseball bat.
Your job as a leader is to sell the team the idea that the things the organization deems to be in the best interest of the organization is actually in their best interest too. Achieving expectations means they win, we win and we all have more success.
1. Make sure everyone is reminded of the expectations. Yes, that seems elementary, but the evaporation factor is always in play. Either as a direct message or subliminally, leaders must constantly remind the troops of what’s expected and what’s important.
2. Get on it right now. Far too often when there’s a lapse in achievement, leaders let things drag on and on. The more things are allowed to slip, the more those things become habit, and the more the expectations are lowered.
3. You don’t have to be mean to enforce expectations. People like to work in a well-run, well-disciplined organization. This isn’t about screaming and hollering at someone about their failures. It is about letting them know quickly we’re not on track; you and your team are not getting it done, whatever “getting it done” might mean to you.
At some point there must be consequences for those who cannot live up to reasonable expectations. The ultimate consequence is they get to go to work someplace else.
4. Be consistent in your actions and statements. The easiest way for expectations to fall apart is that you are all over the place. You let some things slide for some people and not for others. You cannot be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Selective enforcement with just a few people will destroy the morale and productivity of the team.
5. There are times when you need to figure out the real root of why expectations aren’t being met. What’s the real problem? Leadership sometimes will set the wrong expectations. Setting the wrong expectations is just as bad as not having any.
6. In order to hold others accountable we too have to hold ourselves accountable. We should make it a daily practice of looking in the mirror and being honest with ourselves.
A part of holding yourself accountable is never to forget, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” The closer you become with people the more difficult you make your responsibility of holding them accountable.
I’m holding you accountable. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs