Your employees need to know what is expected of them before you can hold them accountable for anything. If you assume they know what is supposed to be done, when, and to what quality level, you will be disappointed. The more clearly you agree expectations and goals up front, the less time you will waste later clarifying – or worse, arguing about – what was really expected.
Just because your employees know what to do doesn’t mean they will do it. But how do you get employees to commit after goals and expectations are set? Employees are more likely to commit when they understand:
a) how the goals will benefit them personally,
b) how the goals will help the department.
Once this connection is made they are more likely to buy into the goals, and actually welcome you holding them accountable.
What gets measured gets done. By measuring their ongoing performance you can gauge whether or not they are meeting the goals and expectations to which they have committed. Don’t wait to the end to do this. Agree some goal posts during the project so you can both see if things are on track.
Feedback about the ongoing measurements will open the door for problem-solving discussions if required and will also give you an opportunity to tell them when they are doing a great job. Setting expectations followed by good feedback is the backbone of holding someone accountable for results.
A note about the way in which you provide feedback:
True feedback is a gift. To be effective, the feedback you offer must come from a sincere desire on your part to help or support your employee, not to merely fix him or her. If you can’t come at it from this perspective, you may fail, no matter what words you choose or methods you use. Intent is more important than technique.
L=Link to Consequences
Consequences are not punishments. Punishments are inflicted on employees to make them pay for their shortcomings. They do not contribute to a solution. Consequences, however, can be good or bad and can excite or worry staff. If staff are clear about the consequences for themselves personally, it will help focus their behavior and encourage them to take their commitments more seriously. If the consequences (good or bad) are not important to staff, you are not focusing on powerful enough consequences.
Look at the quantifiable goals you both agreed and determine how successfully they have been reached and action the consequences, good or bad. Also, review how you and they, handled the process and find ways to be more effective.
When you get into the habit of briefing properly at the start of a task, agree the goals and expectations and measureables, (and it may only take 5 minutes to do this) you’ll find that it becomes far easier to hold people accountable at the end. You will also find that staff begin to hold themselves accountable for the work that must get done.