Employee Accountability – Why Won’t They Just Do Their Job?

Employee Accountability – Why Won’t They Just Do Their Job?

HR On-Demand Question of the Month:

3 Questions you can ask to solve the accountability gap.

When we are talking with businesses, too often questions arise such as “Why won’t they just do their job?” or “How do I hold people to the expectations of their role?” and “How do I stop doing their job and mine – I’m exhausted!?”

Becoming a manager requires a whole different skill-set than doing an ordinary job. Let’s face it – you can be constantly challenged by limited time and resources on one hand – and a never-ending demand for results on the other. Mix in some team members that are disengaged and unproductive and you become completely overwhelmed.

The good news is, you’re not alone. The great news is, we can help you manage this – using a simple, effective three-question process created by executive coach Kris Plachy that you can embed into your everyday conversations with your team.

At work, we make agreements with each other every day; “I’ll chase that up”, “I’ll put that on your desk”, “I’ll take care of it” are some examples. Making an agreement is actually the beginning of the accountability process. But it’s the assumption we make around the agreement that often leads to disappointment and frustration. Our own past experiences as managers and as employees can influence our relationship with accountability. Because guess what? We are not all the same.

So, let’s take a look at the simple three-question process:

Question 1. By when?

Don’t assume that if someone has said they would “follow up on it”        that it means today or as soon as they leave the room. They might think it’s okay to do it next week. Eliminate assumptions by asking this simple, non-judgemental question, which will provide clarity and commitment. It also allows the employee to take ownership of their commitment because we aren’t telling them when they’ll need to have it done by, they are telling us.

Examples:

“I’m going to call accounting about that invoice…”

OK, BY WHEN?

“I’ll follow up with Steven on that…”

OK, BY WHEN?

“Yes, I’m working on that and should have it finished up soon…”

OK, BY WHEN?

 

Question 2. What obstacles might Get in the way?

Obstacles happen every day – we start out the day with a fabulous to-do list and then our day unravels! Though obstacles are not a reason or excuse to not meet the agreed deadlines. Sometimes when potential obstacles are discussed, the deadline is re-set because it’s been given some thought and it’s not reasonable once other competing priorities are considered. A re-evaluation of the original commitment may be required.

Examples:

“Accounting may not give me the update they promised”

WHAT’S YOUR PLAN IF THAT’S THE CASE?

“He may not answer my email”

WHAT’S YOUR PLAN IF THAT’S THE CASE?

“Andrew and Lilly may have other work they ask me to do”

WHAT’S YOUR PLAN IF THAT’S THE CASE?

 

Question 3. How will I know?

This question helps you avoid the situation of having to chase the employee’s work and wasting your time. It’s their goal and their responsibility. Make yourself a small note in your calendar on the date they are going to deliver and when they do, thank them.

Examples:

HOW WILL I KNOW YOU’VE FINISHED YOUR ‘BY WHEN’ COMMITMENT?

“I’ll flick you a text”

HOW WILL I KNOW YOU MET WITH STEVEN?

“I’ll discuss it with you in our 1 on 1 meeting next week”

HOW WILL I KNOW YOU MOVED THE PROJECT ONTO JOHN?

“I’ll cc you in on the email”

Put these 3 questions together and you’ve set an expectation around how people engage with you as a leader and that team members are responsible for their own commitments.

Great managers drive great performance. If we want our people to do what they say they are going to do, we have to hold them accountable to this. These 3 simple questions will help close the accountability gap and consistently solidify ownership and responsibility within your team.

Do your Managers have the skills and tools they need to be held accountable? HR On-Demand supports the performance of your business by providing real-time coaching and support for your Managers. To find out more, call us on 1300 55 99 62.

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