5 Ways to Hold Your Team Accountable for Their Work

Bayt.com, Contributor, Nov 28 2016

A big part of your job as a manager, irrespective of company or team size, is to regularly check in with employees and to ensure that they are able to deliver what is expected from them. In doing so, some managers mistakenly lean towards micromanagement as a method of keeping their team performance at the desired level and holding them accountable for the work they do. Unfortunately, micromanagement is an ineffective method for maintaining accountability. In fact, micromanaging employees can be counter-productive and stressful as it diminishes trust between team members and can lead to high dependency and a loss of control at work.

Employees who are persistently watched and criticized can easily become demotivated and lose the sense of ownership over what they do on daily basis. Maintaining accountability at work is about trusting the employees, empowering them with the tools and resources they need, but also giving them the leeway to test things out on their own. Accountability is best achieved when employees are able to have a sense of autonomy and ownership over their tasks at work.

In order to use the most productive management practices that ensure teams are held accountable without micromanaging them, take a look at the below guidelines from Bayt.com, the #1 Job Site in the Middle East.

1. Clarify your expectations
The first step is to be crystal clear about what you expect from your employees. This means being specific about the outcomes you’re looking for, how you’ll measure them, and how your employees should go about achieving them. Of course, these expectations don’t all have to come from you. In fact, the more skilled your teams are, the more ideas and strategies should be coming from them. Have a genuine two-way conversation with your employees and ask them to set their own goals and outcomes. You should also ask your teams to come up with a strategy or an approach to reach these targets. You can provide them with support and guidance as needed throughout the process but encourage them to have their own voice and apply their own work style.

2. Provide the resources
It’s important to put procedures into place so your team knows how to properly handle issues that may frequently or unexpectedly arise. For example, what should the team do if they’re falling behind schedule for a particular job? What’s the procedure for handling errors and mistakes? Who should be notified when complaints are received? By systemizing processes and putting reporting procedures into place, it makes it easier for team members to solve problems head-on rather than attempt to hide or neglect them. The majority of respondents (88.2%) to the Bayt.com ‘Teams in the MENA Workplace’ poll, October 2016, believe that their teams work effectively together, with 47.9% stating that their teamwork is ‘very’ effective. Creating a sensible a plan that addresses all the possible scenarios and outcomes and outlines the available resources will ensure that your teams have what they need to do their job. This step could also include providing training, equipment, and access to mentors and coaches.

3. Re-engage
Think about how you feel when you’re doing work that you love or care deeply about. You take responsibility for your actions, simply because you have a deep sense of pride in what you’re doing. The same will likely hold true for your team members: show them that you care and value their contributions, big or small. Re-engage them to understand where they are on their own career map and you will be able then to lead them down the path towards personal responsibility. Your employees will be more engaged if their career aspirations are understood and their work aligns with their values. Talk to them and find out what their goals and aspirations are, then, illustrate how their daily tasks and responsibilities can help them achieve what they value.

4. Adopt open communication
One of the biggest mistakes managers make is failing to communicate openly and effectively. It’s important to create an environment where employees can communicate honestly and freely and share ideas without the fear of being judged. For example, failing to inform your employees when changes take place or when minor mistakes are made is unfair to them, and sets a bad example for other employees. According to the ‘Teams in the MENA Workplace’ poll by Bayt.com, almost seven in 10 respondents say that communication between members on their teams is open and participative. By the same token, when one of your employees is going above and beyond, it’s important to praise that person in public in order to both provide recognition and motivation to the rest of the team.

5. Embrace mistakes
Nobody likes mistakes. They’re bad news for your customer, your business, and the employee who makes them. However, when your employees don’t feel comfortable approaching you when a mistake is made, the problem can escalate and become much worse. The goal here is to make it safe for your employees to approach you with any problems they encounter. Turn mistakes into lessons. Schedule weekly meetings, and during these meetings, consider having each employee share an issue they encountered and talk about how they fixed it. This is not only an opportunity for your team members to speak up when mistakes occur, but to also learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. 

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