Improve Motivation Using Accountability And Expectations

Integrated HR Philosphy In Action

Accountability throughout the entire organization is critical to its success or failure. All executives, managers, supervisors and, even staff, are responsible for the final outcome of the company. Since any effort is only as strong as its weakest link, the organization depends upon and enhances the ability of its people to work together and to share accountability to achieve its short and long term goals. Accountable organizations are productive because employees work together with a shared vision toward a common goal. This culture gives the companies the competitive edge while increasing the opportunities for long term business growth.

Lets look at an example of the integrated HR philosophy using accountability and how it communicates expectations across all the elements of Selection (S), Training & Development (T&D), Motivation (M) and Performance Appraisal (PA). First a review the rules of accountability. The four manager/employee rules of accountability start with:

  1. The rule of consequences whichis one that we are all familiar with. It is the rule a lot of business owners use as their go-to when it comes to (PA) accountability. As a child, you learned quickly that every action had a consequence. You didn’t turn in your homework…you get a bad grade. You ran on the sidewalk with untied shoelaces…you fell down and skinned your knee. If you ask an employee to complete a task and they don’t do it in the time allotted, they could risk losing their job. That in and of itself is enough to keep some people motivated (M).
  2. The rule of expectation is one that often goes unnoticed, but can make a big difference in your accountability as a team/employee/manager. Over the long run, people have a strong tendency to rise or fall to the level of our and their own expectations of their performance. So you have to ask yourself if you believe in the abilities of your team members and if they in turn believe in themselves. Do you express your beliefs to your team or do you keep them to yourself? If someone thinks they are capable of doing great work, they will likely deliver great work.
  3. The rule of compounded returns is about knowing that, as a manager, growing your people takes time, effort, and energy. Holding someone accountable for the tasks assigned to them really starts before they are even hired (S) and continues throughout your relationship together. Growing people requires buy-in from both employer and employee. Setting clear expectations and holding other people accountable to those expectations requires a real effort investment.
  4. The rule of reflected behaviors starts with you, the manager. You will always get the precise behaviors you have set your staff up to give you. It’s a harsh reality, but no one is going to hold your team accountable except you. So once you are willing to own the results, and work on the relationships & the outcome of your behaviors, you will find that your team is able to reach new heights in productivity and value created. Some people call this “Expectation Mirroring.” Mirroring is a thing, and setting clear expectations is a thing. But if you put them together, it makes work life a heck of a lot easier for both managers and employees.

Now, here’s how the four rules of accountability work in an integrated HR system philosophy environment:

  • For employees, whenever an assignment is passed along, take a moment to digest both the scope and criteria for success, then repeat it back to your manager. Ask for confirmation that you fully understand what’s expected and when. If there’s a disconnect, ask for clarity until you’re on the same page.
  • For managers, it’s important to make expectation mirroring an expectation. We all get caught up in the frenzy of work and, as a result, communication can suffer. Make it a point to remind your direct reports during (S) as well as (T&D) to engage in expectation mirroring so that they’re confident they understand the assignment and what success looks like. Also, take time to listen to this mirroring so that you can offer proper clarity.

For more thoughts on human resource management, view the free video entitled Human Resource Management.

Copyright ©John Trenary 2022

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