Business leaders at every level have the opportunity to lead teams, but that often presents its own set of challenges. One challenge is to ensure that each team member, including the leader, is accountable. In today’s business world, how we engage with individuals we work with and work for has changed significantly. We have moved from a place of regiment to a place of gentle understanding and empathy. The revisions were needed and welcomed by many of us who try to balance life inside and outside of work. Is there such a thing as work-life balance? I believe there is, but I digress.
I recently read a great article published in INC magazine by Lee Colan of the L Group. In his article titled, “How to Ignite Your Team’s Accountability Engine: Reliable results and reliable relationships are the payoff for building an accountable team culture,” Colan explores the accountability perspective that has diminished over that last few years.
I love how he introduces his article:
“Accountability is like rain–everyone knows they need it, but no one wants to get wet. It’s easy to talk about how “they” need to be more accountable, but it can be uncomfortable when we apply it to ourselves. When is the last time you heard someone say, ‘I really need to be more accountable for my results?’”
Colan identified specificity as the link to accountability. If we want to have more accountability in ourselves and in those we influence, we need to review our expectations, consequences, language, and coaching.
We need to take time to clearly communicate the result we are seeking. It is vital to be more specific than we think we need to be. By doing so, we will reduce miscommunication and frustration.
Colan challenges each of us to communicate with the 4 W’s that many of us already know. Who, What, When, and Why each represent a critical piece of the information needed to complete a task. It is important for team members to know what action needs to be taken, why it is important and how it fits into the greater plan, who is responsible for the action (ultimately only one person can fill this role), and when the results are expected.
Incorporating this communication style will reduce misunderstandings, staff frustration, and the need for individuals to redo work. I encourage you, as a business leader, to implement these strategies to provide your team with the support they need and to improve service to your customers.