Here are some tips for managers on how to keep their teams accountable in a more positive and significant manner.
The ability to coordinate work and accept responsibility for desired goals is a key component of culture, but most employees lack these skills. How do real leaders manage the conflict between delegating authority and upholding a commitment to outcomes? How can they instill a sense of motivation in their group while monitoring the interdependencies in the work products? With transparent agreements, it starts and ends.
Make specific agreements
Who will do what by when is one of the three essential elements of a clear agreement? All of it is quite head-notable, and you can hear how elementary it sounds. You’re probably not very surprised by it. But it’s also incredibly difficult, just like most straightforward, significant things.
Consider the demands or duties you have due right now. Do they each have a distinct owner, or is ownership ambiguous or distributed among multiple parties? Is the result unmistakably defined and, ideally, in the form of a deliverable, making completion certain? Is it clear when the entire task or certain milestones are due?
However, starting from scratch isn’t the simplest method to achieve this clarity. Yes, this clarity is helpful, but any agreement must always involve two or more parties. Additionally, the communication method itself is an agreement. Spend some time with your direct reports to let them know that you’re going to establish explicit agreements with them as a first step. Ask them whether they agree to create specific agreements after you have explained what you mean by this. This allows them an opportunity to choose and provides them with a social contract they can rely on in the future.
Keep most of your commitments
Nobody is perfect, and life does happen, but the goal is to uphold commitments as frequently as possible. When you realize you can’t stick to a deal you’ve made, act fast to renegotiate it. Renegotiation entails more than only telling folks that you won’t be able to uphold your end of the bargain. A renegotiated agreement needs two or more parties, just like an original agreement did.
Here, the leader’s key responsibility is to set an example by making and honoring commitments. With this commitment, a culture of soft accountability is established. Hold yourself to the highest standard of unambiguous agreements as a starting point. Include a distinct “who,” “what,” and “by when,” and then be transparent about your follow-through. Keep your word as a sign that you are being sincere.
Fix any wrong agreements
However, despite our best efforts and intentions, we will occasionally break our promises. Once more, this is a chance to set an example for and encourage adherence to unambiguous commitments. Actually, this is the most crucial chance to emphasize this. Commitments will be breached, and unless they are swiftly and purposefully cleaned up, the commitment to upfront agreements will start to erode.
Recognizing that your agreement was lacking in integrity is the first step. What can be done to restore trust is the second stage. It might simply be necessary to recommit to being on time after being late to a meeting.
With specific agreements, a culture of gentle accountability may be established. The first step is to have a fundamental discussion about making a pre-agreement and agreeing to explicit agreements. The commitment then persists through your acts as an example and expands as a result of your focus on renegotiating and resolving unsatisfactory agreements.