It’s infuriating when you come across people - whether in professional or personal life - and nothing is ever their fault. Well, it infuriates me anyway. At one time I had a “perfect” mother, boss and boyfriend. All three of them never did anything wrong - not that they were admitting to, anyway. The consequences of this was that neither boss nor boyfriend lasted long. Fortunately my mum lived 120 miles away and a good deal of irritation can be filtered out in a long distance relationship and I could remind myself that her unerring perfection (hmmm!) apart, I loved her very much.
Accountable people don’t blame other people or outside forces when their results are less than desirable. They don’t blame their children, spouses, the economy, politicians, companies, products, bosses, customers, or territories when things don’t go well. They just take steps to make it happen.
Do you have team members who are always blaming others when things don’t go well? How can you encourage them to step up to the accountability mark?
1. Faith fixes many things. Look at the impact of placebos. If you look at the work Carol Dweck has done researching growth mind-set it seems that we can grow our brain's capacity to learn and to solve problems. Most employees will become more accountable if they know their leader believes in them. The stronger they feel it, the more accountable they will become.
2. Lead by example. Michael Eisner took over as Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company in 1984. He transformed it by exemplifying accountability that everyone else eventually emulated.
Eisner created a culture of accountability by being:
- a positive example;
- there and visible;
- a nudge and facilitator;
- an idea generator.
He considered that leading by example is the most important.
3. Encourage continuing education. Smart business keep on encouraging their people to grow. And they keep on training their people in good times and bad.
One business owner Vince Poscente says: “I trust the individual to know what areas he or she needs to work on. I offer to pay half of the cost of a course or educational opportunity. The individual thinks twice before requesting a course since his money is at stake too. Plus, when an employee invests his own money, he naturally has an increased commitment in gaining something from the educational experience.”
You can also encourage employees to invest in their own personal development. It might be to encourage them to start reading more broadly round their subject, for example.
4.Trust employees to take responsibility for solving problems. Give them a framework, then let your people see what they can accomplish. It may be that what an employee does is not exactly how you would have done it. Yet, if you let them do so the return on investment is a more loyal, happy, involved, and accountable employee.
Establish some accountability mechanisms, for example, “journaling”. In other words, ask your employees to record everything they do and the results they get. Writing down what actually happens can be a huge wake-up call that can turn people around.
Set up accountability teams. It’s the secret behind the Weight Watchers programme. Those who attend the meetings regularly lose 50% more weight than other members. Quite simply, if people know they have to report the results they’re getting, they get better results.
In today’s challenging business world, we no longer have time for employees who blame everybody else for their lack of results. We need leaders and employees who believe in accountability who take responsibility and get the job done.
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