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Employee accountability – leaders’ common struggles And how to overcome underperformance

Leaders struggle with accountability and letting go of underperformers

Alongside strategizing growth, managers are responsible for normalizing employee accountability within the organization. Aside from being an essential leadership skill, accountability is the key to successful project execution. It also encourages streamlined teamwork and a healthy workplace environment.

However, like anything with such glamorous benefits, employee accountability does not come easy. Leaders may have various reservations about not holding employees accountable or being unable to do so. It could be due to not wanting to shuffle team members or to be perceived as approachable and not as the “boss.”

According to the CEO Benchmarking report by the Predictive Index, 18% of the senior leadership reported “holding people accountable” as their biggest weakness. 15% said they found it difficult to “let go of underperformers.”

Why is Accountability Important?

Accountability improves employee performance by boosting their confidence, giving them a sense of ownership, and leading to organizational growth. When everyone is aware of their responsibilities and expectations, in addition to the expectation the organization holds with them, they bring great dedication and quality to their work.

Like students, some employees may need more supervision than others, taking longer to produce good quality work, making it even more important for leaders to understand their pace and problems. This calls for thinking of strategized ways to monitor their progress accordingly. When employees know they’re being closely monitored and the leader is making an effort to train them to be proficient, they’re likely to stay focused and get more done.

How To Hold Employees Accountable

Hold yourself Accountable

Employees perceive Managers and senior leadership members  as role models

When it comes to accountability, the “practice what you preach” principle comes seems befitting. Employees who take accountability are the ones who witness their leaders practicing it.

As a manager/leader, you can begin by setting examples like:
  • Arriving and leaving on time
  • Meeting deadlines on time
  • Being supportive of the team whenever required
  • Showing up prepared for all the meetings
  • Being a listener
  • Making the team work with you, not for you.

Once the team leads display such qualities, the entire workforce follows the lead.

Project management tools are the accountability partner we didn’t know we needed. Platforms like TeamingWay make life so much easier.

Own your mistakes

Even as a leader, it is possible to drop some balls. Being honest and admitting your mistake promotes a culture of honesty in the organization and gives a human touch to an otherwise robotic corporate culture. Additionally, it encourages employees to be both accountable and responsible- they would understand it is alright to admit a genuine mistake during the learning process, but it is not alright to repeat them.

Set clear goals and expectations

Setting up goals and expectations means being crystal-clear about what results the company expects from them- the outcome and how they would achieve their objectives. Goal setting is essential because otherwise, it is hard to hold someone accountable if they do not know what is being asked of them.

The goals and expectations must be communicated to the employees as they are established, ideally documented in writing. The records become a reference point at a later time should an employee fail to deliver.

When a workplace has certain rules and assertive ways of delegating responsibilities, employees take their performance up a notch by understanding that there would be consequences of underperforming and continuous failure would not be justified.

Setting goals has become easier and faster than ever- through project management and communication tools; there are so many out there.

Be a listener- Empathize.

We live in an age where employees are looking for an accommodating workplace environment where they feel like they belong. Employees no longer compromise their mental and emotional well-being for the sake of their job. It is up to the leaders to create that environment because employees spend a major chunk of their days in the workplace.

It’s possible for employees to dabble because of a health concern, a problem they’re dealing with outside of work, or a professional feud with one of their teammates. As a leader, it is crucial to understand that not every problem is your problem, and not every situation demands an immediate solution. A good leader knows how to resist the urge to jump in to resolve trivial internal conflicts or give personal advice without realizing it’s out of your boundaries.

Giving your employees a chance to explain themselves while you listen and empathize with them would boost their self-esteem and strengthen trust in their leader. Allowing them to vent and asking how they plan to solve the issue would empower them to be accountable at the workplace and in other areas of life.

  • Be Quick To Address Poor Performance

    • To bring out accountability in its best form, leaders need to be proactive with spotting a poorly performing project or employee before it turns into a blame game or an even serious conflict.
  • Find out the root cause for an employee’s poor performance.

it’s not always a lack of accountability; it could be

    • The employee has recently joined the organization and is getting to know their responsibilities.
    • No Training or proper orientation was provided.
    • The guidelines given to them aren’t clear
    • A technical glitch
    • A health or personal concern
    • Conflict of interest among the team
  • Ask and listen

    • Try finding out if the employee is aware of their underperformance and ask them what they need to counter it.
  • Reflect

    • Ponder over your role in their performance- did I drown them in too much workload?
    • Was their goal attainable and realistic?
    • Is the work pending at some other end?

This will lead you to the root of the problem. While you address the issue on the ground, using a communication tool for business might be a better solution. This enables you to look into these issues remotely.

In a Nutshell

While all of this may sound too good to be true to apply in real work-life, there is nothing too far-fetched when leaders set their minds and dedication to it. The good part is, that employee accountability and work management can also be digitized, thanks to collaboration tools for business. Monitoring progress and holding Employees accountable has never been easier with TeamingWay and other tools for team collaborations. Your dashboard allows you to keep an eye on the organization’s overall operations like a drone camera. From upcoming deliveries, the number of people assigned to each task, daily progress, team’s internal communication to File sharing. With TeamingWay, everything is measurable and observable, giving leaders complete control and keeping them in the know.