Want to Fix Accountability Problems? Start With Expectations

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Accountability Issues? You’re Not Alone

Is accountability high on your list of desires among your team?

We continue to hear this from executives across the country, day after day. Just last week, we were on a discovery call with a new client who emphatically said, “We need our leaders to be more accountable!”

If you want a more accountable team, I don’t know if it’s any consolation right now, but YOU’RE NOT ALONE AND YOU CAN BE A HUGE PART OF THE SOLUTION! ??

Accountability is complex and affects multiple aspects of individual, team, and organizational performance. There’s no quick solution, however, I’d like to give you one insight that I shared with a leader a few weeks ago. I hope it’s helpful for you!

A man familiar with my leadership development work sent me this text…


The Root of Accountability Problems

Here, accountability doesn’t start with the managers referenced in this text. Instead, it starts with the person who sent the text.

Do you have to keep telling someone the same thing over and over? If so, you do have an accountability problem — and it starts with you.

Accountability is being responsible for something or someone. As managers, it is your responsibility to:

  • set expectations effectively
  • delegate effectively
  • evaluate performance effectively
  • get results through other people effectively and efficiently.

Make no mistake about it, at the forefront of all of it is GREAT COMMUNICATION. Own that. Be accountable for communicating effectively. Leaders must communicate in a way that creates positive results, not roadblocks. The leader who sent me this text realized he needed guidance so he reached out to get help. He might be frustrated but he’s working to be more accountable. I love that!

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Make Your Expectations Crystal Clear

After a long conversation with this leader, it became clear that people have been promoted into management positions without having a crystal clear understanding of the expectation going forward. Everything clicked for him when we got down to the heart of management…getting things done with and through other people — the fundamental job of a manager. From there, he had to make the expectation clear first and he is working to offer additional coaching as needed.

Expectations are the foundation on which performance begins. If the expectation is not mutually understood, you risk performance issues.

When you’re promoting people, are you certain you’ve communicated in a way they understand this increased responsibility (Getting things done with and through other people)? If not, they may think their job IS to TELL people what to do. If that’s the case, you’re going to be left frustrated with a team lacking accountability. Teams that lack accountability are not nearly as effective and efficient as they could be.

Imagine a better the future where every employee clearly understands expectations, is evaluated on their performance consistently, and sees people setting great examples of accountability at every level every day.

Accountability breeds success—I want that for you!✨✨✨✨

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Alyson Van Hooser

Alyson Van Hooser, Pres & CEO, Van Hooser Leadership. With the grit that only comes from tough experiences, Alyson has learned a thing or two about personal and professional success. From her management experience with Walmart, as an elected city council member, bank manager — all before the age of 30 — Alyson has wisdom well beyond her years! Her podcast, Stake: The Leadership Podcast, offers a fresh perspective on leadership and helps multiple generations successfully work together! Connect with Alyson on LinkedIn.


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