How to Improve Employee Accountability

Setting different cultures and leadership styles aside, here are fundamentals that work in any situation to improve employee accountability:
1.    First, design jobs for results, not activities. Too many job descriptions are lists of 27 activities instead of 4-8 outcomes for which they are accountable.  When an employee is focused on doing many tasks, they can’t be focused on overall job results.
2.    Set performance measures based on accountabilities.  People work best when they:  a. know what’s expected of them, b. can measure their own progress, and know that management will evaluate and reward them based on those same measures. 
3.    Be managers and stop doing the work of subordinates. Managers who routinely do the work of subordinates cannot also be managers. Expect people to learn from mistakes  – repetitive mistakes mean the person can’t/won’t learn and that sends an extraordinarily undermining message to other employees, other managers, and especially to the person in question.
4.    Maintain high expectations. We all know past teachers and bosses who had high expectations and who caused us to do far more than we thought we could.
5.    Be someone employees respect.   People want to do well, and they especially want to do well for managers they respect.  There’s a significant difference between respect and fear.  People do their best for managers they respect; they do the minimum acceptable for managers they fear.  Fear-based managers dare people to fail and play “gotcha” by pointing out how people  didn’t measure-up.  Employees respect managers who expect a lot and coach people to be successful.   

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