Trying to hold people accountable can seem like herding cats – they just don’t do what you want them to when you want it done.
Some might call that insubordination while others might view that kind of behavior as “just not listening”.
The problem with allowing little to no accountability for projects, people and/or outcomes is that you create an ongoing stress with successful results.
As a leader and a manager, you have to have the conversations with people about the deadlines and the expected results. And maybe you need to have that conversation more than once.
One of my CEO coaching clients said:
“I’ve told them a 100 times what I want them to do”. I asked him to do it 101 times.
We assume once said that people get what we mean.
“How absolutely hard could it be to follow the instructions given?”
Apparently, it is darn hard because so many leaders complain about the accountability and completion of the work from their peers and subordinates.
What if you are the problem in how you are communicating with them?
If you have an ongoing issue with people understanding the instructions and completing and providing results, then you have a choice of two issues:
- You are hiring stupid people who do not listen
- You need to hone your communication skills to get the results that are needed
The next time someone does not complete what you need and you KNOW you have given really good instructions and information, debrief the process of how you are communicating.
The reveal can be instructive for everyone.
Just try a series of “what and how” questions to get at the “why” of no completion and results.
- What was the original communication – would you share what you heard from me?
- What about the deadline did you not get?
- What would be a better way for me to inform you of the details so we can get this done right?
- What stopped you from asking me questions about the project that allowed it to be late?
- What would you have me do differently in communicating with you since we seem to have an ongoing problem?
And then LISTEN.
Accountability with others is a process, but if your communication is not clear – and you think it is – you need to revisit how you are communicating…and listening.
To your success,