Are you struggling with holding your employees accountable for results? You’re not alone. Take these 5 steps to change your business’ culture of accountability.
Managing employees is one of the hardest parts about owning a business and holding your employees accountable is the most challenging thing about managing. Many times, owners feel like they either don’t have the time to hold employees accountable or they just don’t want to be the “bad guy.” Some business owners want to avoid conflict; while others don’t know how to hold employees accountable.
There are many factors of why business owners are failing at holding employees accountable. However, while accountability is often uncomfortable and time-consuming, it will help you make employees happier and more productive. That ultimately helps your business and makes you a stronger leader.
Developing new accountability practices, policies, and procedures that inspire change doesn’t require some big HR effort. Here are 5 steps you can start doing right now to hold your team accountable and change your business culture.
1. Set and communicate expectations and goals – Setting goals and expectations is first and foremost when holding someone accountable. Verbally communicate these to your team and then follow up in writing. You can’t hold someone accountable if you haven’t clearly defined and communicated expectations. For example, if flextime core hours for remote and in-office employees are between 11AM and 3PM and you haven’t clearly communicated that verbally and in writing to your team, you can’t hold someone accountable for routinely signing off at 2PM.
2. Offer feedback (and don’t apologize) – Don’t start the conversation with an apology like, “I’m sorry to bother you but…” Hit the issue head on. Using that same example from above: say, “While I understand you’re putting in all your required hours a week, the team needs you during these core hours to deal with the biggest volume of workload.” Tell them that their absence puts a strain on the entire team and hurts morale. Many employees don’t realize their behavior is having a negative impact on the team. Receiving that kind of straightforward feedback alone can initiate change.
3. Be consistent – Your continued encouragement and feedback is needed to make accountability effective. Saying something one time but not another is very confusing for an employee. When you’re inconsistent, it leaves the employee feeling unsure where they stand and how to correct the problem. Keep in mind, some of the most successful leaders lead by example. So, if you’re going to hold people accountable, you must hold yourself to the same standard. Simply put, you better be able to “walk the walk” if you’re going to “talk the talk”.
4. Give employees ownership – Empower your employees by giving them the control. This can be hard for a lot of owners, for understandable reasons, but you have to keep your eyes on the prize. If the goal is reached, then you may have to accept that employees used a different route than you would to get there. The benefit? When an employee has ownership, they’re less likely to finger-point at problems and be more engaged coming up with solutions. Engagement and involvement give people a sense of purpose and satisfaction in their day-to-day tasks. Employees who take responsibility for results and productivity are most likely to be happier and generate positive results for your business.
5. Understand the reason for routinely falling short – After all, you’re managing people, not robots. We all have lives outside of work and sometimes those lives spill into our work. It’s also very possible something is lacking in management or operations that prevents them from achieving success. There are all kinds of reasons why your employee may be falling short but you need to understand why in order to coach them. In most cases, there are solutions to which you (and the team) can easily accommodate.
Let’s face it, most business owners want to be liked and most people don’t enjoy conflict. Many just plain don’t know how to hold people accountable. However, as business owners, part of the job is to inspire the best in employees. Accountability is worth the effort because it makes business better and employees happier.
Likewise, business consultants and advisors should be held accountable for results. Verity Commercial are real estate advisors who work with you as a business partner to ensure your real estate strategy aligns with your business goals and strategy. Contact us to find out how we can help be a valuable resource to you.