When we think of accountability we often thing about punishing an employee, We link accountability with the uncomfortable feeling of identifying someone's faults or errors. It awkward to have "that" conversation with someone about what they did ...wrong.
What is accountability really?
Accountability really isn't about blame and fault finding. Instead, when you look up the work accountability in the dictionary it means the expectation of account giving. It is about reporting and explaining what happened. It might include justification of why it happened that way.
Supervisors need to uncover the story
Accountability in this view now becomes a supervisors job to fact find. It is a request for the story.
"Hey you showed up late, tell me what's up"
Watch here as I talk more about accountability
Asking questions without judgement has people open to telling their story
When you ask these kind of questions, without judgement, your holding people accountable. Accountable to tell their story. When they do, you can back track to figure out the "why" of what they did. This will help you to course correct for them, coach them to a more acceptable response or provide information that will help them do it "right" in the future.
Accountability is getting people in their words to give you an account of what happened, It is a description of the events, a narrative or a story. Your job is to simply be curious about the story. When you are, the facts will come out.
Before you hold them accountable be clear on expectations
One last note: If you are wanting to hold people accountable, it's vital you clarify expectations first. Be clear on what you want, when you want it and the quality of workmanship you are looking for. Don't assume that they know, just because they have been there a while and should know. Your best bet, is to review expectations again clearly, in black and white preferable (write it down). Get their buy in. Ask them to commit.
"I'd like to see everyone take their garbage out of the vehicles at the end of the day. That way the vehicles will be clean for everyone the next morning. Does everyone agree to do that?"
Then...hold them accountable.
"I noticed there is still garbage in Unit #2. Anyone want to take responsibility for that?"
Accountability will save you from some of those awkward conversations
Accountability will make you all feel better. It will take away the awkwardness and then the ultimate very uncomfortable conversation when you've left it too long and it's really is something big to address.
Hold yourself and your employees accountable. Just simply get an account of what happened. Be curious about the story.
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