There has been some company re-organization, or perhaps you’ve been given a promotion. Either way, you find yourself in a management role over a group of staff that has gone rogue, so to speak. When staff haven’t been held accountable for their time, actions or work, there are ways to fix it. The following tips can help you get moving in the right direction.
- Start Fresh on Day One
You may have preconceived notions about your staff members. Perhaps their reputations precede them or they haven’t been managed properly before. Either way, start fresh. Introduce yourself, your vision for the team and the goals you hope to accomplish. Outlining these general expectations upfront will help the staff understand that you mean business.
Be sure to outline your expectations for working hours, when they can expect to see you in your office, and the type of working atmosphere you hope to cultivate (open communication, collaboration, etc). This can also set the stage for later individual conversations.
- Meet One on One with each Staff Member
After meeting with the team as a group, set aside time over the first few days to meet individually with each staff member. Again, try to put preconceived notions aside and get to know more about your staff individually. Take this time to get to know a little bit about them personally and build on things you have in common.
Besides showing interest in them, show interest in their work. Ask detailed questions about recent projects and their contributions. Becoming familiar with their work and their responsibilities will help you to see what skills your team possesses and how to leverage those skills to accomplish your goals. It will also show your employees that you recognize their input to the team and to your team’s projects. Knowing that you recognize their individual contributions (or lack thereof) will motivate a dedicated employee to improve or continue to produce quality work.
- Weekly meetings to Show Accountability is Expected
Weekly meetings can be a bore. But, when starting out with a group of staff that’s learning to be accountable, it’s an excellent way for the team to touch base at the beginning, middle or end of each week. Have a clear and concise meeting outline to review key dates and what the team needs to do to deliver to the client on time.
Establishing this meeting initially can give employees an informal deadline. If they know they’ll be expected to outline a project schedule or to share their project design with their team, then they’ll learn to come to the meeting prepared and accountable. Once your team is comfortable with accountability, you can reduce these meetings to once or twice a month.
- Teach by Example
The easiest way to teach staff members accountability to is demonstrate it yourself. In your opening meeting, did you promise to do X, Y and Z by a certain time? Did you recommend a local coffee shop to one of your staff members and say the two of you should hold your next one-on-one there? Or perhaps you told one team member they would be included on the next high-level meeting on a certain project. Whatever the case may be, make sure you follow through. Visit the coffee shop, extend the meeting invitation, and more. While these items may seem insignificant, it will show your team that you are accountable and teach them to act likewise.
This also shows your employees that they can trust you. When you encounter an issue down the road, and you sincerely suggest making a correction or editing a project they will understand that the suggestion comes from you and is not arbitrarily made.
- Slow and Steady Correction
Don’t expect change to happen overnight. If your staff hasn’t been held accountable in the past, it will likely take weeks and months to develop the habits of accountability. Be patient and willing to teach. Continue to outline your expectations along the way and meet one on one with your employees as needed to provide clear and concise feedback.
However, don’t be afraid to extend a reprimand when needed. If an employee doesn’t respond to repeated attempts to help them on the road to accountability, make note and outline with the employee what changes they need to make to maintain their current role and position.
Whether you’re just getting started or have been in your leadership role for a while, don’t be afraid to jump in and make changes. Using the tips above start building your team’s accountability day by day.
Rachel Stones, at Built For Teams