A word I hear a lot is accountable, as in “we need to hold people accountable.”   No argument that this is a critical part of a high performance culture. Accountable literally means what I can count on you to do, be, execute, or manage.

However if managers expect to be able to hold people accountable, there are responsibilities that must be met. To modify the famous Spiderman quote: “with great accountability comes great responsibility.”

Below are 6 responsibilities that are precursors to holding people accountable:

  1. Ensuring proper resources are available (e.g. time, money, training, approved systems…)
  2. Design of a way to be successful. People call this strategy.
  3. Clear design of what success looks like. If you play a game with your kids, there will be a clear understanding of what winning means. Why is this often unclear at work?
  4. Communication of expectations. Convey the when, what, how, when and who. If we want clear accountability we cannot use fuzzy communication.
  5. Make and keep priorities. That is what managers are supposed to do. If everything is “urgent” or a “top priority”, key things will get lost in the general clutter.
  6. Check for commitment. Pause and check that the person who is taking on the task is really taking it on. Remember the strongest commitments come from people when they publicly state what they can be counted on for.

Managers that take the time to meet the responsibilities above will find the holding of accountability much easier and effective.

What have you found works for you in holding people accountable?

Photo Flickr Creative Commons