A lot of the problems that you face as managers and leaders tend to take care of themselves in an environment of high employee accountability and responsibility. But how do you mold your organization into such an environment? In his play, Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare wrote, “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great. Some achieve greatness. And some have greatness thrust upon them.” When we thrust opportunities for greatness upon the people we lead, what will they do with it? How do we help them seize that chance?
Creating an environment that fosters high employee accountability and responsibility begins with your ability to influence the people on your team. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, published in 1936, is the most well-known and helpful book on this topic to this day. It outlines the four main things you can do to start increasing your ability to influence an environment of high employee accountability and responsibility in your workplace today:
1. Build Relationships: People go above and beyond for people they know, not people they know of. You must be able to interact with your team and connect with them in order to do that.
2. Be a Role Model: Your team will mimic what you do, not what you say. Show people what employee responsibility and accountability look like so they can see the example in you.
3. Demonstrate Strong Values, Beliefs, and Vision: Demonstrate strong values, beliefs, and vision. Don’t just talk about them. People don’t care what you call a mission statement and hang on a wall. People don’t care what you call your core values and put in a pretty frame. They want to see that mission statement and those core values come to life in every decision you make and every action you take. That’s what influences people.
4. Mentor: If you are mentoring someone, they’re going to feel more accountable to you. Establish a mentoring program in your organization by meeting with key individuals that you want to develop. This doesn’t have to be complicated or even overly time-consuming. Here is a great resource for establishing a simple, yet effective, mentoring program in your organization.
Influencing an environment of high employee accountability and responsibility can sometimes be difficult. As their leader, the first and best place to start is by becoming a trustworthy, accountable role model yourself. Only then can you realistically expect your team to follow.