The success of any team or organization depends on a number of factors. One of the key factors driving the success of organizations is accountability. Accountability means that every individual can take responsibility in his or her respective areas of operation. Building accountability can be tricky at times. It is something that requires time to grow. So, if you are expecting accountability in your organization or team, you will need to be patients and allow it grow. The following are ten approaches to build accountability in any organization or team.
1.0 Macro management
The rule of the thumb in enhancing accountability in any team: do not micromanage employees. Once employees have mustered their job description and expectations, it is important to let them get down to work. They are likely to be more accountable in their duties if they know you have given them space to work. Avoid getting to their necks until they are through with their duties. Carry out evaluations when the job is already done, not when it is on-going. Employees need to feel that you have confidence in them.
2.0 Right tools
Always ensure you provide your employees with the right tools for their jobs. Accountability will develop when they can work easily because they have the right tools. If you need somebody to create and maintain records in a busy organization, give them a working computer, not a pen and a piece of paper. Employees become dedicated to their tasks when they are able to accomplish them without unnecessary difficulties. The right tools create just the right environment for accomplish tasks, meeting deadlines and fulfilling expectations.
3.0 Use of bifocal lenses
Bifocal lenses allow individuals to focus both near and far. As a manager, you need to focus not only on the short-term goals but also on the long-term objectives. It is important to let the employees understand how they fit into the bigger picture of the organization. This makes them feel they are part of the organization, hence, they will uphold accountability. Focusing on the immediate makes employees feel they are being used. They may have no motivation to meet expectations since they feel they can be dispensed with anytime.
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4.0 Job expectations and performance standards
Job expectations and performance standards need to be communicated clearly to employees. Employees can work better if they know what is expected of them. They need to be aware of the objectives of the organization, and learn how their job is helping to achieve those objectives. They will then understand that the success of the organization depends on how well they dispense their duties. By so doing, they will be able to develop accountability.
5.0 Proper communication channels
One of the most important approaches to build accountability is to have proper communication channels. Employees need to know who to approach whenever they have any issue. For this to be effective, the communication channels need to be always accessible to them. There should be a center for channeling complaints, views and opinions. Employees are likely to be accountable if they know they can communicate their needs easily and conveniently. As a manager, you need to create a conducive environment so that employees do not necessarily need to suffer any fear of victimization.
6.0 Team motivation
A well-motivated team is a highly accountable team. In a recent interview with CEO of Coupon Machine regarding their success, the said “Don’t just focus on the wages or salaries that employees draw at the end of the working period. Find ways and means of motivating employees. A little gesture of appreciation can work more wonders than the month’s salary. Give them day-offs, come up with programs that benefit their families, organize get-together parties, anything that can make them smile.”
7.0 Setting clear and realistic deadlines
Accountability in organizations can also be achieved if deadlines are clear and realistic. If there are no deadlines, employees may not know when they are supposed to deliver. It may also create conflicts if a manager sets deadlines that are not humanly possible. One way of ensuring realistic deadlines is to communicate with employees and evaluating their abilities. It is proper to let the employees be aware of any timelines in the organizations.
8.0 Provide feedback
It is important for the employees to know how they are faring. As a manager, you need to conduct constant evaluations, the outcomes of which you communicate to the employees. Appreciate them for their strengths and point out their weaknesses with a view to improving on them. Help them to grow from one level to another. The employees also need to provide feedback to their managers. Provide room for employees to make suggestions.
9.0 Ensure that actions have consequences
In order to foster the culture of accountability, employees need to be aware that every action has consequences. The consequences are not necessarily negative, but positive also. Reward employees performing exemplary and encourage those below par to pull up. Employees need to know that every action they engage in has an effect both to them and to the organization at large.
10.0 Clear dispute resolution procedures
Disputes are a factor of life, especially where there is more than one person. Managers need to act proactively, rather reactively. Create dispute resolution guidelines well in advance. Ensure that any dispute is handled in confidence, realistically and fairly. The spirit of justice should prevail in the organization. This will motivate employees to be accountable for whatever they do. If possible, outsource dispute resolution personnel to avoid elements of biasness. Sometimes how a dispute is handled is more important than the outcome.
These are only ten approaches to build accountability. There are many other ways of achieving accountability in an organization. Managers should always remember that the success of an organization depends on the accountability of the workforce. They should also put in mind that employees also expect them to uphold the spirit of accountability. Therefore, managers need to create a professional environment for creating and nurturing accountability. At the end of the day, managers may be called upon to account for the accountability, or lack thereof, of their employees.
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