“ A people-focused coach always holds
her team accountable for performance!
You do your people a disservice when you
fail to hold them accountable.”
Good leaders care about their people. Great leaders care enough to hold their people accountable. The key to accountability is that the leader has set and reinforced clear expectations. Great leaders reinforce the behaviors and actions that are expected of employees.
Leaders trust employees but hold them accountable for performance. When employees commit to specific actions, the leader always follows up with questions like, “When will you do it?” and “How will I know it is done?” Leaders give employees the autonomy to do the job how they choose while expecting the employee to return and report with updates on the actions they committed to take. This is a principle that puts the responsibility on the employee to follow up with the leader to report on actions they have committed to complete. When employees do not return and report, leaders follow up to ensure the expected actions are executed and the desired outcomes are achieved.
Many companies and leaders speak about performance and accountability but few can establish or sustain a culture of accountability. I believe it is a lack of managerial courage; the ability to have the courage to have candid conversations about performance. In my experience, most leaders are not good at holding people accountable.
At the heart of performance is a leadership culture that clearly sets and reinforces expectations, defines what success looks like, trains and coaches employees how to be successful and holds employees accountable for performance.
Performance-driven leadership and accountability starts at the top level of senior leadership. They create a culture of high, clear expectations and performance. When employees are clear about expectations, they can be more focused and effective.
Defining and communicating expectations are the foundation of performance. When a leader observes performance, good or bad, she should provide coaching, feedback and have candid conversations with the employee. It is important to understand that candid conversations are not just about poor performance; they are also about great performance. Although these conversations are much easier, top performers need to be recognized.
The next step is the employee acknowledging what needs to change and making appropriate adjustments. Leaders should have actions that the employee needs to do to improve performance.
The final step is for the employee to do what she has committed to do and return and report what she has done to her leader. If the employee fails to return and report, it is the leader’s responsibility to follow-up with the employee. Besides the failure of leaders to have the managerial courage to conduct candid conversations, the lack of follow-up is the Achilles heel of leaders. Most leaders fail to inspect what they said they expected and to hold employees accountable.
Unless leaders consistently demonstrate the courage to have candid conversations and to follow-up and hold employees accountable, they will ultimately fail as leaders. Employees deserve to have candid conversations with their leaders and must be held accountable for their performance.
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