As a manager or business owner, there is a lot riding on your shoulders. At times, it may feel like an impossible task to get all the things accomplished that you want to in any given quarter--which is where your team comes into play. Once you have a clear idea of where you want your business to go over the next quarter or fiscal year, it's time to enlist the help of your team to make it a reality. And being able to hold them accountable for the tasks at hand could be the difference between success or failure.
"It sounds great, David, but how do I actually hold them accountable? Just delegating tasks to team members and hoping it gets done isn't really working for me!"
You aren't alone. There are basically four laws of accountability that can play a role in how you keep your team on task on any given day, so I wanted to explain them to you in a bit more detail.
1. The law of consequences.
This one is one that we are all familiar with, and this law is one that a lot of business owners use as their go-to when it comes to accountability. As a child, you learned quickly that every action had a consequence. You didn't turn in your homework? You get a bad grade. You ran on the sidewalk with untied shoelaces? You fell down and skinned your knee. If you ask an employee to complete a task and they don't do it in the time allotted, they could risk losing their job. That in and of itself is enough to keep some people motivated.
2. The law of expectation.
The second law is one that often goes unnoticed, but can make a big difference in your accountability as a team. Over the long run, people have a strong tendency to rise or fall to the level of our and their own expectations of their performance. So you have to ask yourself if you believe in the abilities of your team members and if they in turn believe in themselves. Do you express your beliefs to your team or do you keep them to yourself? If someone thinks they are capable of doing great work, they will likely deliver great work.
3. The law of compounded returns.
Growing your people takes time, effort, and energy. Holding someone accountable for the tasks assigned to them really starts before they are even hired and continues throughout your relationship together. Growing people requires buy-in from both parties and setting clear expectations and holding other people accountable to those expectations requires a real investment.
4. The law of reflected behaviors.
The last law of accountability starts with you. You will always get the precise behaviors you have set your staff up to give you. It's a harsh reality, but no one is going to hold your team accountable except you. So once you are willing to own the results, and work on the relationships and the outcome of your behaviors, you will find that your team is able to reach new heights in productivity and value created.