Management Success Tip #109: Prime the Employee Accountability Pump with Clear Performance Criteria

You may think that keeping your employees happy means turning a blind eye to their performance snafus or failures–which of course you can’t afford to do without losing your job. But you worry about sacrificing employee engagement if you insist on accountability.

Fortunately, there is a way out. Jane Perdue suggests:

“Holding people accountable doesn’t require a six-inch thick binder…or being a micro-managing jerk. What’s needed is a boss…who has our best interest at heart and who has the character and courage to speak out when we don’t deliver up to our potential.”

Two of the ways Perdue recommends to assure employee accountability without losing their engagement are:

“1. Agree on performance requirements at the beginning of the work project. Get very, very clear on outcomes, and talk them through together to assure two-way understanding. If skill and/or commitment gaps exist, devise a plan to close them.

2. Take action the very first time outcomes fall short of defined expectations. Doing so doesn’t make you a bad person. Doing so makes you a good manager. It builds your credibility and many times solves the performance problem, especially if it’s a commitment issue. Some folks like to test and see where the boundaries are. Let them know you expect excellence.”

Employees like to perform at their best. Help them do so by fairly holding them–and yourself–accountable.


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