The best teams hold themselves accountable.  Members of these teams want to be pushed.  Great teams crave accountability because they believe in the mission. High functioning teams want to be held to a high standard.

Conversely, members of dysfunctional teams run from accountability. They hide from measurement.  They dislike feedback.  And they dread performance reviews.  At the root of this dysfunction is a deep seeded mistrust of how this tool of accountability is being wielded by their leaders.

Here are a few tips to build trust and make accountability a positive force in your organization:

  • Accountable to what? Be sure to communicate performance expectations clearly and consistently, without mixed messaging.
  • Hold employees accountable to THEIR goals and dreams, not yours.
  • Accountability is a form of optimism. I am pushing you because I know you can do better.  I know you can reach your goals.  I want great things for you…
  • Accountability can be a positive force in your organization, but only if you take the time to ensure your expectations are in alignment with your messaging. To be more effective, ensure that safety is a real priority and is being discussed and managed with the same energy and thoroughness as any other department.
  • Be consistent. Have expectations been consistently communicated to employees?  Have employees received timely and insightful feedback throughout the year?

As it relates to something like safety, distrust can be triggered by simply not believing that safety trainings are authentic, that the only reason senior leaders are talking about safety is because regulatory agencies such as OSHA make them, not because these leaders genuinely want to keep their employees safe.

Usually, the biggest employee complaint we hear is that business owners and senior leaders consistently place production needs over safety needs, and that while production standards and expectations are communicated clearly and consistently, the safety activities that line level managers are being held accountable to are much more nebulous and erratic.

Be consistent and create accountability that authentically is rooted in the safety of your people.

Valerie Albert
Author: Valerie Albert