You know that accountability improves performance, but then there’s that sticky moment. It implies you have to have that conversation with somebody, or you’re not holding them accountable! (If you’re wondering what-is-accountability-and-how-it-improves-business you could read that article too)

6 steps for holding people accountable

In many ways one could say it’s similar to delegation; but for accountability there’s a simple model that covers the whole process:

  1. Set Expectations: (preferably jointly!) Before you can hold somebody accountable, you need both need to know what for. Clear, fairer agreed expectations and goals will save time later. More time gets waste clarifying, or arguing about, what was really expected
  2. Invite Commitment: Your team needs to commit to achieving those expectations! They’re more likely to do this when they understand how the goals will benefit them personally and how the goals will help move the organisation forward.
  3. Measure Progress: There needs to be some measure of what the thing is, and how well one is doing against that in order to measure results. This is an example of transparency.
  4. Provide Feedback: Feedback is critical; this needs to cover both good and bad points. The objective is to learn, solve issues and perhaps generate agreed follow-up actions. This is another example of transparency.
  5. Link to consequences: What will happen if this isn’t done? One assumes there are organisational consequences or it wouldn’t be important! In my experience this step is important, but often doesn’t give the biggest benefit.
  6. Evaluate: How effective was the process? Be consistent and systematic, review how the process has been handled. You cannot hold somebody accountable, if you don’t evaluate!

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Tips for holding a good accountability discussion.

We have covered most of these in other articles:

You may wish to download a free 6 page report on holding crucial conversations, or the article “constructive feedback to improve staff performance is a good place to start.

In overview: don’t procrastinate – have the discussion. Remember it’s about good and bad, the objective is to learn and improve. Do think through exactly what is and is true before the conversation, and do it rationally – not emotionally.

Of course, holding somebody accountable does not have to be a difficult conversation, they may have done it, or be working well on the it. As a business coach every meeting I hold clients to account, it’s not (normally) a hard conversation. I remind them of their promises to themselves and ask how they’re getting on. If somebody avoids the issue, gently ask again.

What are your tips for good accountability conversations?

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Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access