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The buck stops here: Increasing accountability in the office

Accountability is one of the key ingredients to creating a high performing organization. Being able to count on people doing the things that they say they’re going to do is critical for organizations to be able to improve and perform. As a leader it is your job to create a team that can be counted on to execute. If a team member fails to perform the fault ultimately isn’t with the team; it will fall on the leader’s shoulders who is responsible for their actions. I’ve made a list of some tips to help increase accountability around the office space.

  1. Remember at the close of every meeting to assign action items to specific people.
  2. When you send an email, specifically include your ask in the form a request to that person. Don’t just expect them to take the next step.
  3. Hold to deadlines and calendar dates. If it was important enough to put a deadline on it, it’s important enough to keep to it.
  4. The flip side of that is also true. Make sure that you don’t arbitrarily assign deadlines and dates to things that don’t require it because then it’s hard to tell the difference between what’s important and what’s not.
  5. As a leader, manager, or team member, make sure you hold yourself to the same standard that you want everyone else held to.

As always I’m curious what everyone else thinks. If you have any suggestions to add to this list I’d love to hear them.

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Profile Photo Henry Brown

Would add; Where possible/practical, follow up on status prior to the deadline date without seeming like a person that doesn’t trust their team members; Probably the worse thing to me was to be surprised by a failure

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Profile Photo Jenny Phu

Any suggestions of how to hold people accountable to their roles and responsibilities when they are outside of your group? This isn’t so much a question about whether another group gets work done (though that is also an issue), instead it’s a question of how to stop other groups from believing that the buck stops with them.

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Profile Photo Joshua Millsapps

Jenny – you have discovered the chink in my advice. The problem of getting other people to be accountable outside of your span of control is difficult. The best advice I can give is to be open, honest with those you work with in the hopes that they will work with you and be accountable. It doesn’t hurt to have things in writing either. Not that you would necessarily use that to hold someone accountable, but I think most people are a little better about being accountable if they put it in writing.

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