Creating a culture of accountability is essential for any successful organization, but especially for small businesses. When team members feel a sense of accountability, they become more engaged, creative, and productive.
Read on to learn more about the importance of accountability and how to improve it in your small business.
- When your people don’t feel a sense of accountability, it leads to a decrease in morale, lack of productivity, and ultimately, a lower bottom line.
- Setting clear expectations and establishing routine reporting can improve accountability in your small business.
- Holding team members accountable may occasionally require difficult conversations with those who aren’t meeting expectations.
Why Improving Accountability in Your Small Business Matters
A lack of accountability in even one employee debilitates your entire small business. But how?
When you have employees who aren’t acting with accountability, other employees feel frustrated because they have to pick up that employee’s work or correct their mistakes. When there’s a lack of accountability in your business, delegation isn’t efficient, costly mistakes are made, and customers aren’t satisfied. But when you take steps to improve accountability in your small business, you can turn it around fast. You’ll start seeing team members who own up to their mistakes, stay late or come in early during crucial times, and report problems along with solutions to address them.
How to Improve Accountability in Your Small Business
Fortunately, creating accountability in your small business isn’t complicated; in fact, it’s a simple, two-step process——establish a routine of reporting and establish clear goals. Once you set expectations for each member of your team, establish a schedule of regular meetings to measure progress. Completing a Quarterly Action Plan serves not only as a great planning tool, it’s also a great tool to track progress against goals. Your Quarterly Action Plan, then, can also be used in weekly meetings to ensure everyone is on track. By holding regular meetings and reporting against goals, accountability becomes the team norm and this sets a whole new tone for success. Everyone is empowered to take ownership of their tasks, doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
How to Have Accountability Conversations
Even if you’ve made all the right moves to create accountability in your small business, you may have to have an accountability conversation from time to time with specific team members who aren’t meeting expectations. How do you decide when it’s time to have a conversation or let it go?
A good indicator that you need to have a conversation with a team member about accountability is if an employee
- Is heard saying ‘that’s not my job,’ or ‘I don’t make enough money for that’
- Says they’ll do something but then doesn’t
- Has repeated shoddy or sloppy work performance
Think About the Issue
Before the accountability meeting, to help you prepare, think about what is it exactly that the employee needs to do differently. This will help you to convey the problem with extreme clarity so there isn’t room for confusion.
Get in the Right Mindset
The tone for your conversation is set within the first 30 seconds of your meeting, so it’s important to start off on the right foot. A good rule of thumb is to be curious instead of angry. For example, rather than blaming the employee by saying something like, “What were you thinking,” try “I’m curious to know how the procedure (or task) is going for you?” You might learn that the employee is struggling with a personal issue or isn’t trained well or maybe is even getting erroneous work from the person from whom the work is being handed off from.
During the Conversation
Make sure to keep the following tips in mind during accountability conversations:
- Always hold accountability conversations in private.
- If the issue is becoming a pattern for one team member, avoid addressing your entire team in a group setting.
- Ask permission before you begin the conversation by saying something like, “Do you mind if we discuss…”
- Think of the conversation as an opportunity to get a better understanding of how the particular employee makes decisions rather than a chance to tell them what they did wrong.
- Establish a sense of respect for the employee by telling them something you appreciate about their work before jumping into areas of improvement.
- Start discussing the reason for the meeting by explaining their behavior as a gap instead of a violation.
- Give constructive feedback by providing facts, specific details, and examples about their behavior.
- End with a question like, “What are your thoughts?”
The ultimate goal in creating a culture of accountability is for your team members to have accountability conversations among themselves. When you hear one employee say to another, “When you handed that form to me, I noticed it had a couple of errors; here’s what they are,” you know you’ve achieved a culture of accountability.
Are you helping your employees embrace changes in your small business? As a business owner, your employees expect you to lead the way.
Improve Accountability With Business Coaching
Are you having trouble getting your team to stay accountable? Are you struggling to get everyone on the same page, working toward a common goal? If so, then business coaching from expert coaches may be just what you need.
At Inspire Results Business Coaching, we understand the importance of accountability. We don’t believe in using abstract concepts that don’t provide concrete results. Instead, our leadership training focuses on specific needs and challenges preventing your team from holding themselves accountable. Our innovative strategies are designed to be practical and easy to implement so you can start seeing results quickly. We cover a wide range of topics, including communication, goal setting, and team building, focusing on developing your employees’ skills in problem solving and decision making.
Contact us today to learn more about our coaching services.