People’s capacity to achieve is determined by their leader’s ability to empower. John C. Maxwell
One of the biggest challenges I hear from the startup founders I coach is the lack of accountability. ‘How can I get people to deliver?’ ‘Why do I have to chase them for results?’
Well, most of the time, this is why:
Goals and priorities are unclear
You can’t keep people accountable if they don’t know what they are supposed to deliver. At the minimum, your team needs to have a 6-month (or better, 12-month) view into what the company strategy is that they are executing against.
Ownership is unclear
There should be a single owner of every key deliverable. It doesn’t mean that this person is doing all the work, far from it, but it does mean that when push comes to shove, this person’s neck is on the line for achieving the goal.
When people feel like they are on point for a deliverable, but they don’t feel empowered, i.e. be able to make decisions and steer others as they see fit, then it’s not real empowerment and so you can’t keep them accountable. You, as a leader, can’t have it both ways.
No reward for high performance
We are simple creatures and learn at a young age that what we get rewarded for is what we should be doing more of. Pretty simple. Reward can be financial, a promotion, bigger responsibilities or a simple shout-out and recognition in front of the team.
No consequences of low performance
So what happens when someone doesn’t deliver? Nothing? That’s a big issue, not only because people learn that there are no consequences for weak performance, but also because you teach the rest of the team that they don’t need to work as hard either.