Above most elements involved in the operation of a business, the leader matters most. Without high-performing leaders, most teams will underperform. Conversely, add a high-performing leader to a struggling team, and they can immediately jump in to improve organizational performance. One of the key elements A-Group leaders bring to the table is a consistent rhythm around creating accountability. Here, we discuss three key ways these winning leaders create transparent and consistent accountability, demonstrating why the leader matters.
When looking at “Accountability” from a Gapology lens, we view things from the perspective of how it prevents or closes performance gaps, which are behavioral miscues that prevent leaders and teams from achieving expectations. In this sense, it is not progressive discipline per se, but rather specific and intentional steps leaders can take to create rhythm and a culture of action proactively. From our experience, we have repeatedly witnessed leaders creating accountability by simply following strong behaviors that clarify what is expected and sharing results with the team.
Here are three key steps to do this:
Set Expectations around the metrics or results you seek to achieve. Be extremely clear here and ensure everyone knows and can repeat them.
Define the Behaviors that equal the metrics or results. These behaviors you expect the team to exhibit will produce what you expect to achieve. An important point is that these behaviors must have been proven to deliver the results. Look to your top performers for examples that you can point to when defining these.
Keep Score and publish the results. Rank your team on their contributions. Your team wants to know how they are doing, and often, this alone will move the needle on performance. Use the scores as indicators of where team members are performing. Coach underperformers and provide public but personalized recognition for those winning. If results are posted but the celebration doesn’t happen, it can feel punitive. Use the opportunity to show appreciation for those succeeding, and you can create a positive and supportive culture. Remember, we are what we celebrate!
Often, we hear that leaders struggle with accountability. Sure, tough conversations may be involved, but utilizing the three steps above can make these conversations much easier to conduct. Remember, ensure you have clarified and validated that your team fully understands the expectations and knows where they stand regularly. This will avoid confusion and anxiety in the team and give you confidence that everyone is on the same page. This will show that you care about them… you care about the results… and that you, as their leader, matter.