So many times, in my work as a leadership and career coach I hear clients say – “My people aren’t delivering; they just aren’t getting it done.”

As we start to break down what’s really going on here, I often find two things:

  1. The leader isn’t holding their people accountable because they struggle to determine what actions they need to take to truly hold others accountable
  2. The leader knows what actions they need to take, yet they don’t take them because they’re concerned about how others will perceive them

In either case, the leader isn’t doing themselves any favors; the work they need done isn’t getting done and they continue to get more and more frustrated.

So, what needs to change?

In the case of #1 above, the leader needs to start taking actions that enable accountability.  During my time in corporate America, I found 3 actions, that if done consistently, aid tremendously in holding others accountable.

1. Be Clear

Be clear and transparent about what you want people to do, when you want them to do it by, what success looks like and how it will be measured. Remember others aren’t mind-readers and as the leader it’s your responsibility to communicate these things – and more often than not, this communication will be greatly appreciated.

2. Check In

Check-in with them; ask them how it’s going and what, if any, support they need. It’s important to realize things come up, challenges arise, priorities conflict and people aren’t always sure how to handle these things and often don’t ask.  By recognizing this and checking in with them you’re able to head off any issues and keep people moving forward.

3. Give Feedback

Lastly, share honest, objective and supportive feedback. If things are on track and moving in the right direction, share that – let others know they’re on track.  If things aren’t on track and not moving in the right direction, share that too – let others know what’s off track and have an open, non-judgmental, conversation about what needs to change.  Remember this isn’t about blaming anyone, it’s about ensuring people know what’s expected and the task or project at hand gets done, done on time and done in the best way possible.

In the case of #2 above (knowing what actions to take, yet not taking them because of concerns around how others will perceive them) this is likely a mindset issue.  Remember, if you’re in a role where you’re leading others, you need to first lead yourself and that means taking control of how you think.

Leading yourself, means not letting false assumptions, limiting beliefs (e.g. assuming how others will feel or respond) or strong negative emotions get in your way.  It’s about having the courage and ability to communicate what you want while being considerate of the other person’s position or point of view.

I promise, if you start practicing these things consistently, you will begin to get the results you want.  You’ll also likely feel less stressed and appreciate your team’s work more.

If you’d like some help with accountability, I’m available for 1:1 coaching – you can schedule your Complimentary Get Acquainted Call with me here.