10 MIN READ
Holding People Accountable
Helping People Take Ownership of Their Work
Have you ever heard the story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody? It's called "That's not my Job," and it goes like this:
"There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done."
No one in this story took responsibility for the job. As a result, they accomplished nothing. Similar attitudes are common in companies that lack a culture of accountability.
In this article, we'll explain what holding people accountable means, and suggest strategies you can use to encourage them to take ownership of their work.
What Does "Holding People Accountable" Mean?
Accountability boils down to one thing: responsibility.
When you hold people accountable, you make sure that they achieve the goals you have agreed, to the standards and deadlines you have set.
However, some managers aren't comfortable with this, and give their team members extra chances to perform, so they don't have to discipline them. They worry that if they put pressure on people to meet their targets, they may complain or even quit their jobs. Also, some leaders are more concerned about being liked than about team performance.
These managers may give poor performers' work to stronger team members, to avoid confronting them, or they simply hope that, over time, everyone's performance will improve.
But "burying your head in the sand" like this is not the solution. If you let poor performance slide, it can set a dangerous precedent. Your under-achievers might believe that you aren't serious about deadlines and expectations, and your high-performers see your failure to deal with the issue and may decide they don't need to work so hard.
The key to embracing accountability is to change your thinking from a negative, blame-focused view to a positive, performance-boosting perspective. Holding individuals accountable can improve their results, as well as those of your team. ...