How do you have conversations for employee accountability inside your organization?
What if we could bring fun, play and ease to the conversations we have about being accountable?
Being the oldest of four children, I was appointed the babysitter. It has taken me YEARS of committed introspection into the topic of accountability and what is available out of being accountable, to bring any lightness to this topic. I did name my company “Accountability Pays,” so I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. Unless we want to suffer the consequences, we are accountable at work and at home, however we define it.
The conversations I’ve usually had about being accountable were focused on making someone wrong. And if you’ve gotten to adulthood, you already know how that plays out! It is not pretty for either party. It is the blame game, sound and fury signifying nothing, some version of “If you were different, if you were responsible, if you did things like I do them then all would be fine.” That conversation does not usually go well UNLESS you are committed to coming out the other side with both people whole and complete, no kidding. One of my fellow thinkers on this topic said it this way; “The relationship is committed to workability for everyone.”
If being accountable — all of us being accountable — were fun, playful, easy what would be available?
Some of you think I’ve been smoking something. No, I have not. What I know from my own experience, and sharing experiences with others, is that when everyone is accountable (clear, focused, results-oriented) the entity (relationship, organization) exudes vitality.
Think about a time when everyone did what he/she was supposed to do and you experienced what some call “flow.” Stuff just got done! People supported the whole with whatever was required, without being asked, even if it didn’t fit neatly into their job description. Almost everyone can think of an experience like that, and it was memorable, but seemingly not repeatable. Why is that? What I just described is the experience of being accountable with fun, play, and ease.
Here are a few quick proven rules to bring fun, play, ease — and therefore vitality — to conversations for accountability.
- Don’t make people feel that they are wrong for doing it the way they are currently doing things, even if you don’t think they are right.
- Engage them in a discussion of what is possible if all pull on the oars of the boat headed in the same direction.
- ASK for their impression of what could be done, and LISTEN.
- Assume that if they do not understand you, it is because you did not communicate fully, not because they were stupid/not listening/whatever you made up about them.
- Remind them of how great it will be when celebration time comes around.
- Make them feel part of something bigger than themselves, something that is important.
Watch them come alive. Watch them dip into their inner reserves. Watch them perform beyond your expectations, as a valued and valuable team member.