Welcome back to my final newsletter on the theme of accountability, which interestingly, turned out to be a 3-part series. When I embarked on this topic, I realized that there were three areas of focus that were best suited to explore in separate newsletters.
I started the series citing the challenges that leaders have holding their teams accountable, offering the notion that an individual IS accountable or they are NOT, and some reflective questions about whether existing leader and team dynamics really promote true accountability. The second article focused on accountability through the lens of a leader and how leaders should take an honest audit of how well they have created an environment that fosters accountability.
This third and final article of this series is intended to identify team member factors that might be at the root of poor accountability and performance and offer specific actions that you can take to overcome these issues.
After honest internal reflection, if you believe that you have created a healthy environment for accountability, your next action is to have a constructive conversation with your team members to get “under the hood” to understand the cause of the failed accountability and co-create the next steps with your team member.
A natural approach is to have a similar conversation with your team member(s) and validate whether or not the same conditions exist for them, that you have evaluated yourself against. This will definitely uncover some opportunities for continued discussion to improve on their performance.
In addition, I offer the following considerations that may uncover additional factors that are negatively affecting the performance of the talented and capable individuals that comprise your team.
- Do they lack the confidence to tackle new and different work?
- Could their perfectionism or exceptionally high standards get in the way of delivering good work?
- Do they fear appearing incapable by asking for clarification or guidance?
- Did they jump to making assumptions that were not validated or reasonable?
- Were they unable to navigate a challenging team dynamic?
- Do they understand and accept accountability in the same way that you do?
Discovering if some of these conditions have impeded the performance of your team member(s), will require a high level of care, authenticity on your part, and the creation of a safe environment to explore this with your team members. This is best created when there is a high level of trust and rapport with your team members. If you have not yet established this level of openness in your interactions with your team members, now is a great time to start.
Reserve time for this discussion or shift the agenda in your next one on one to allow adequate time to have this discussion. Honestly, for this type of interaction, a 30-minute discussion may not be enough time to explore these conditions in depth, nor allow sufficient time to create an action plan. Be prepared to have additional conversations with the team member to allow enough time to work through understanding the roadblocks and develop an action plan to ensure a higher degree of success in the future.
Ultimately, for you and your team to be successful, you need to influence a different result with your team member(s) who are struggling. You will produce the best results by sharing your observations, setting clear expectations, seeking to understand the real root of the problem, and securing a mutual agreement to working differently. In addition, you will need to agree on an effective communication flow, mutually understand all promises and commitments, and determine how you both will track and discuss progress. Remember, most people sincerely want to do good work and be a contributing team member.
Conversations matter! My clients acknowledge this and then ask me how, literally, they could have these conversations, or adopt new practices, to create better trust and openness within their teams.
Communication is my forte, and I can help you get there. Please reach out to me and we will brainstorm together!