Getting the results you need without sacrificing your team's morale is no easy feat for leaders, especially with the disruption and change impacting every business and industry today. To remain relevant and successful in this ever-changing environment, it's critical that your employees deliver results.

But the price of keeping up with competition shouldn't be an overtaxed workforce on the brink of burnout.

The key to engaging employees and creating a more accountable workforce is to shift your thinking around what accountability actually is. It's common to think that accountability is punitive--dished out after things go wrong. Instead, think of holding others accountable as a method of inspiring your team to take ownership over circumstances within their control. What follows from this is an engaged workforce personally invested in achieving business outcomes.

Hone the art of holding others accountable with 13 timeless ideas from the New York Times bestselling book, How Did That Happen?

1. It almost goes without saying that you cannot effectively hold someone accountable if you have not first formed clear expectations. Clarifying your thinking about just what you expect from others [...] will help you establish expectations and create positive accountability connections in a way that ensures people deliver results.

2. When you form your expectations, you must carefully weigh the specifics of what you want to have happen, as well as the specific people who will be required to take accountability to make it happen.

3. Communicate key expectations with such clarity that people understand what is expected and why it is important for them to follow through and deliver.

4. Incomplete or ineffective communication heightens the risk of failure.

5. Avoid these common mistakes when communicating expectations: Barking out marching order without making your directions clear enough that people fully understand and accept them; asking people to do something, but not clearly explaining when you need it done; or failing to describe the resources available to help people do what you want them to do.

6. Once you take accountability for your part in the failure to deliver, you empower yourself to get more done through others.

7. Encouraging longer-standing employees to coach new ones gives momentum to a cycle of engagement and team accountability.

8. Leaders don't just oversee employees -- they also demonstrate behavior that others can look to as an example of accountability, transparency, and advocacy.

9. Many [leaders] expect people to fill in the blanks and move forward, regardless of their lack of understanding.

10.  You can't succeed without driving home the "Why" behind expectations. Without it, you cannot hope to capture people's imagination and harness their collective energy to achieve key expectations.

11.  When you see yourself as part of the problem, you empower yourself to join the team that will do whatever it takes to solve it.

12.  Facilitating solutions means providing coaching, mentoring, training, and resources that can help move things along and make people successful.

13.  Ultimately, your people are accountable for figuring it out and succeeding, but your ability to help that process along can often make the difference between success and failure.

Successfully holding others accountable to deliver on expectations and doing it in a way that makes others feel good about it, requires real effort and skill. While not every manager is a born leader, these are fundamental leadership skills that can be honed and developed on the job.

Interested in learning more? Discover the power of holding others accountable in the New York Times bestseller, Holding People Accountable for Results the Positive, Principled Way.

Published on: Sep 26, 2018
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