Accountability Without Anguish Delivers Results

Accountability Without Anguish Delivers Results

Even the thought of holding your teammates accountable for results and you start getting sick in your stomach. Worse yet, think of having your boss holding you accountable by watching over your every move and you may start looking for another job. In most organizations, just say the word “accountability” and you will notice defensiveness, suspicion and resentment. No wonder most managers flat out avoid the task, or plunge into it flinging emotional hand grenades.

What if we were to re-frame the entire concept from a difficult and unpleasant subject to an easy and enjoyable activity. Why not turn accountability into a game. After all, in the world of sports or gaming, people thrive on performance metrics, score keeping and instant feedback.

Collectively, we hold each other accountable far more effectively than under direct supervision.

The inherent aspects of accountability in sports and games can be successfully applied to the game of work.

In sports or at work, we face challenging goals, often imposed by the need to succeed. We can be recognized and rewarded, or criticized and penalized for team and individual performance. Our morale is bound to sink or soar with the score keeping.

Athletes own their statistics and even take pride in their performance. Instead, most workers feel that performance measures are forced, unfair and irrelevant. We can change that!

There is a growing accept
ance for empowering employees to take responsibility for their goals, performance and consequences. The practice of holding one’s self accountable can be energizing and even fun.

Instead of relying on the manager to hold subordinates accountable by setting their goals, monitoring their results, and rewarding accordingly, why not delegate all these unpleasant and unproductive tasks?

Most people want to do a good job. One way they can show their impact is by measuring their performance against goals they have set. To ensure that the goals are challenging and realistic, they rely on each other for feedback.

Key Point Most managers shy away from holding subordinates accountable. Effective leaders set in motion the mechanisms for people to hold each other accountable for their performance. This requires setting and reviewing our own goals regularly in front of peers. People excel when they take ownership for their results.

Most managers shy away from holding subordinates accountable. Effective leaders set in motion the mechanisms for people to hold each other accountable for their performance. This requires setting and reviewing our own goals regularly in front of peers. People excel when they take ownership for their results.

To review goals gather in a huddle on a standup meeting facing a score board. Go around the huddle answering the following questions:

  • What is my goal for today?
  • What did I do yesterday (planned vs. actual)?
  • What will I do to succeed?

The huddle is a powerful mechanism for holding each other accountable. If necessary, have the manager join the circle as another reporting person.

The secret behind accountability for results is quite simple—greater ownership.

Like in most games, at work there is a need for a visible score board showing how we are doing relative to our goals. Unfortunately, this simple tool is conspicuously missing from most workplaces. Keep your score board visible and current at all times.

Like in most sports, there is cheering and booing connected with team and individual performance. Bring in a healthy dose of celebration or competitive rallying for results. Brutal honesty about where we stand is refreshing.

The frequency of standup reviews sets the pace for performance improvement. Consider holding daily, twice a week, or at least weekly reviews. Keep the reviews to a lighting round of under ten minutes. This will help your team stay highly focused on results.

The secret behind accountability for results is quite simple—greater ownership. Collectively, we hold each other accountable far more effectively than under direct supervision. We are more committed to do our very best when we review our performance regularly before peers. Let’s go and win at the game of work.

Accountability Picture

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