Teams that are accountable produce results. You need to work on build an effective team that is accountable to each other. If you want to improve accountability in your team, this article may just be for you. Work in the majority of organisations is done through teams.
A cohesive team is an asset to any leader. It is the responsibility of every leader to build a team that is cohesive and that can help you achieve the goals for your organisation. Great teams do not build themselves. The same applies to accountable teams, they do not just happen. How do you develop accountability amongst your team members. In this week’s edition, I share some thoughts on what you can do to enhance accountability.
Accountable teams thrive on clarity. Your role as a leader is to set clear expectations, and document them. This is the most critical step in building accountability. Ensure that your team knows exactly what is expected of them individually and collectively.
There are several tools that you can use to achieve this result. One of them is the RACI matrix for big projects. If a total stranger who knows nothing about your business or organisation were to approach a member of your team outside of the department, they should be able to state clearly:
What their team is trying to achieve (and how this ties to the overall company objectives)
What their responsibilities are in the team
What their individual KPIs are
Who is accountable for what
There is no effectiveness or accountability in the absence of clarity. Does your team know their expectations. In many organisations, most employees go to work without even an understanding of why they are actually there.
You can also use team management software to document and manage projects to keep everyone in the loop. You can even develop and customise your own application that can help you track and keep your team in account. Take advantage as well of the time in your one-on-ones to go over individual and team goals again and again until they become second nature to your employees.
Encourage ownership of team agendas
Have you ever had the experience of being the only person who is talking during the meeting, whilst everyone is looking at you. If yes, you may need to make a change in how you conduct your meetings with you team. You need to make everyone responsible for the team meeting agendas. In other everyone should have some form of ownership, and should be able to prepare, and meaningfully contribute to the agenda. Make everyone responsible for team meeting agendas.
You can also enhance effectiveness by sharing the agenda for the meeting well within time, and structure it in a way that everyone has to make a contribution. Team members are more effective when they are prepared for the meeting. Encourage a culture of minute taking by everyone so that you enhance participation in the meeting. There is greater effectiveness when the other team members also participate in the conversations, and deliberations.
- Give specific tasks to individuals
Yes, we are a team but what are you supposed to be doing as an individual within the team. Everyone should know this and get to work on it. It may appear counter intuitive to discuss increasing team accountability, and at the same time encourage assigning tasks to individuals…right?
In reality, you can success on an assignment without clarity of who has been assigned that particular task. Yes, the team can work as a team but always keep an eye on the specifics of the responsible person. This enhances accountability. When there is a person assigned, the rest of the team has an appreciation of who to hold accountable. This is more important when your team is highly dependent on each other to complete work before they can start their own.
It is not enough to just set expectations for your team. Your role as a leader is to follow up with your team on how they are doing vis-à-vis the expectations that you set for them. This can be done in various ways, in emails, in meetings, in chats…always, always follow-up. One your team appreciates and develops this culture, they are going to work on delivery because they do know that they are going to be asked questions. This can positively impact team accountability. Expectations and goals that are set without follow-up or reiteration will fall through.
If something didn’t get done, ask who was responsible, why didn’t it happen and what can we do differently next time around to make sure it does get done. This also enables you to see whether or not you need to make changes to you team itself.
- …invoke sanction for inaction
There are many organisations where employees with specific expectation do nothing and many a times even get away with it. There must be consequences for not delivering on what was agreed upon. The role of the leader is to render assistance to the team members to enable them to deliver on the expectations. If there is no delivery, then correction has to be taken.
Set up a team dynamic where everyone is clear on what happens when goals and targets are not meant. This is not a scare tactic, but it should be something the team is aware of. The other way to view this is to think of it like this: if someone asks a member of your team “What happens if you don’t do X?” then the answer shouldn’t be “nothing.”
There you go, no one will ever take you seriously, if nothing happens when team members fail to deliver on the set expectations.
- “Embrace mistakes”
Whether you like it or not, mistakes will do happen in the organisation. Mistakes are however different from negligence. Due should always be exercised however as some mistakes may actually cost the business. Define as a business what you call “mistakes”. Within that framework, should encourage your team to own their mistakes and failures, learn from them and move on.
- Remunerate hard work and wins
Let us face this for a moment; this is your company. Your employees do not own it, in fact you can fire them at any time as you please. What should motivate them to keep on pushing and delivering what is expected of them.
There are many theories of motivation, I will not dwell on these, but there is one point I need to stress that can help you have accountable employees; recognise, and reward hard work. People thrive where they are appreciated Recognition in the workplace is still one of the biggest employee engagement factors. Build team accountability by rewarding and recognising wins within the team and as a team. Studies consistently show that recognition is key to employee drive, motivation and retention.
Creating a culture of accountability takes time and effort. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your team and to your organisation. The time and effort is worth it.
Join me on Star FM on Wednesdays (09:40am-10:00am) for some moments of inspiration on the Breeze with V Candy.
Arthur Marara is a corporate law attorney, keynote speaker, corporate and personal branding speaker commanding the stage with his delightful humour, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. He is a financial wellness expert and is passionate about addressing the issues of wellness, strategy and personal and professional development. Arthur is the author of “Toys for Adults” a thought provoking book on entrepreneurship, and “No one is Coming” a book that seeks to equip leaders to take charge. Send your feedback to [email protected] or Visit his website www.arthurmarara.com or contact him on WhatsApp: wa.me//263780055152 or call +263772467255.