You often come across otherwise smart employees trying to coast along doing the barest minimum at work. Inspite of their excellent abilities – they deliver much below par.They fail to live up to their promise. This situation has always befuddled me-
I have tried to reason out different ways to manage this situation. Why do such employees function below par? How can you as a manager help them to realize that they are accountable. How does one make the employee realize that putting effort is going to make a difference to their careers.
Here are 4 ways which I find have a positive effect in making the team member be more accountable –
- Let them know that their role is important.As Barbara walters puts it bluntly –“ To feel valued, to know, even if only once in a while, that you can do a job well is an absolutely marvelous feeling” As the employee realizes that his work has a larger impact on the entire team – his level of engagement goes up and so does his accountability.
- Regularly tell them how they are doing.They say feedback is the breakfast of Champions. But, feedback works wonders even for ordinary mortals. Telling the employee how he is doing is an indirect encouragement to him/her and his efforts. If they are doing well they need to know. And if they are doing poorly – you need to explain the reason their performance is falling short.
- Do not Micromanage. When my employees floundered it was my tendency to micro manage. What it actually did was to take away the ability of the employee to take responsibility. What I realised after blundering around for quite a while was to- let go. To maintain employee morale – I have allow him/her to make mistakes – to help him correct those mistakes and in the process grow as an employee and become truly accountable.
- Avoid blaming the messenger. As a small business owner having to constantly put out fires can be nerve wracking. So, it is no wonder that I am short on patience. When the employees come up with reasons as to why a thing cannot be done , find some problem or make some such excuses – I don’t mince words and ask them to get cracking and stop whining. This works to the extent that it does muffle the excuses. But what also happens is that I have lost an opportunity to make the employee feel heard. This is actually a very difficult medicine for me – as once I explain and give the work to a member I hope that it gets done. Having to hear why it cannot be done – tests my patience. But the flip side is – that when I dont hear him out and force the employee to do it – he invariably comes up with ways to ensure that the work is done to nobody’s satisfaction.
These are some ways by which I try to ensure that the employees take responsibility and stay accountable. Fact is that it is an ongoing process. Until a level of trust develops between the manager and the subordinate, employee accountability remains fuzzy.
Look forward to hear from you about your take on the same.