Take it from leading accountability speakers and experts: Top research has shown that a great way to increase employee productivity, communication, and collaboration is to establish a culture of accountability. Managing from the Middle is a video series we were featured in that’s helped hundreds of managers learn what it takes to teach and apply these principles at all levels, regardless of the size or shape of an organization or business.
The most traditional view accountability speakers often touch on is that of one from employee to manager or boss – known as “Accountability Up.” However, accountability does not just run in one direction. The most successful organizations create a culture in which both executives and employees are working together and being accountable to one another through their collaboration. Teamwork is a critical element for accountability. Colleagues must be willing to work together, no matter their rank or level.
When maintaining accountability up, there is a delicate dance between over and under promising what you or your department can deliver. It is important to set and communicate realistic expectations, be upfront, and make sure that everyone on the team and depending on the team is on the same page.
On the flip side, it’s also important to set realistic expectations on projects. Sometimes, pressure gets pushed down the line, and bosses feeling the crunch from their superiors pass that pressure along to their employees or direct reports. More effective than demanding is to negotiate. With the belief that everyone has responsibility to ensure the success of their coworkers and colleagues, win-win scenarios can be created so teams can be working toward a common goal.
Accountability can also occur Across, though. In today’s increasingly connected world, it’s evident that positive interaction with colleagues is critical for success. It is important that workers treat their colleagues with the same respect that they would treat a boss. Workers rely in their teammates every day, and the more one can do to help a colleague succeed, the more each will be accountable to the other and enjoy greater success.
Successful negotiation is still a component here because it helps create outcomes in line with expectations. Negotiation can help ensure expectations can have some flexibility. When you’re striving for something, plan for success, and help others understand that they might be able to exceed expectations. Sometimes you’ll need to set deadlines, deliverables, and ask for more upfront keeping in mind that even a smaller amount of progress would be a success. For example, being clear that a 20% goal would be the ultimate achievement, but that even 5% or 10% would be excellent.
You can also find additional hints, tips and advice from accountability speakers in the Managing from the Middle series that will help you ensure a positive, collaborative, and cooperative working environment. You can watch the introduction to the series here and the series conclusion here as well.
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