Ever felt like holding people accountable makes you look like a total jerk? It’s a common dilemma, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be liked?  Now combine wanting to be liked with the fact that you probably have some uncertainty about how to actually hold people accountable and bam … your team members aren’t performing and the business is loosing millions.  Yep, research says a whopping 65% of managers across all levels don’t effectively hold people accountable.

Here are 5 strategies to leverage when it comes to holding people accountable without feeling like a jerk or an imposter.

1. Communicate Expectations Clearly

Be proactive in setting clear expectations from the beginning. Ensure that team members understand their roles, responsibilities, and the standards they need to meet. Use open communication to discuss goals and performance expectations, allowing them to ask questions and seek clarification. When expectations are transparent, it becomes easier to address any deviations without being perceived negatively.

2. Focus on the Behavior, Not the Person

When providing feedback or addressing accountability issues, concentrate on the specific behavior or action rather than criticizing the individual’s character. Avoid personal attacks or making sweeping judgments about their abilities. Instead, offer constructive feedback and frame it as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Use “I” statements to express your concerns, such as “I noticed that the report was submitted late,” rather than accusatory “you” statements.

3. Offer Support and Resources

Be empathetic to the challenges your team members might face and offer your support. Provide resources, training, or guidance to help them meet expectations. Show that you are invested in their success and willing to help them overcome obstacles. This approach demonstrates that you care about their development and success rather than simply pointing out their mistakes.

4. Recognize and Celebrate Successes

Accountability isn’t just about addressing shortcomings; it’s also about recognizing achievements. Celebrate the successes and accomplishments of your team members. Positive reinforcement can motivate individuals to continue performing well and contribute to a positive team dynamic. Celebrating achievements also shows that you acknowledge and value their hard work.

5. Create a Culture of Feedback and Improvement

Foster a culture where feedback is encouraged and seen as a tool for growth. Lead by example by seeking feedback from your team and being open to suggestions for improvement. When you create a safe and supportive environment for feedback, team members will be more receptive to hearing and acting on feedback themselves. This can lead to a continuous improvement mindset where accountability is embraced positively.

Holding people accountable doesn’t have to involve negative or demeaning interactions. By focusing on clear communication, behavior-oriented feedback, support, recognition, and a culture of growth, you can hold people accountable while maintaining respectful and positive relationships with your team.