Karen’s Top 7 Tips to Enhance Staff Accountability

Here is a list of a dozen leader actions to enhance accountability in your organization. Select one approach to start today.

1. Why Are We Doing This?

Help people understand the reason why their task matters. Sometimes the “why” requires research. Why is the funding agency asking for that information? Why does the IRS require this? Once you know why, share it.

2. Build in Follow-up When You Delegate.

Asking and forgetting about the task is not. Help people to “mind the gap” between your request and the follow-through. When the tasks is assign, clarify who will do what by when. Ask for a weekly email update. As you identify specific follow-ups, record them in your calendar.

3. Start Meetings on Time.

A three to a five-minute window is more than adequate to adjust a meeting’s start for on-time arrivals. When you delay more for latecomers, on-time people adapt their schedule and arrive late, aggravating the situation. If an on-time start reflects a policy change before your next meeting, announce that you will begin promptly. Keep with it, the culture will change.

4. Close Loops.

Use emails and texts to confirm that you received materials, the appointments are recorded, and the tasks are completed. To close a loop, email back “Done” and return it. Let people know their work was used and helpful. While it is not possible or desirable with every task, public affirmation also helps build accountability.

5. Schedule The Next Step Now.

If you’re starting on a critical project with staff, open your calendars now. Make an appointment to begin. Treat the meeting like one with a vital donor you want to see.

6. Recognize Potential Groupthink.

Don’t assume consensus when your staff or others readily agree. They may be saying yes to please the boss. It is maddening to find out that 30 days after that, while everyone agreed, no one intends to follow through. Before and after commitments are made, confirm with individuals impacted privately.

7. Make It Easy to Share Challenges.

Create a “No-Fault Zone” where people can express their difficulty with a task—ideally within 48 hours or less of an assignment. This zone allows you to help them to decide if they: 1) Need more information –a common reason (“I don’t know what to say to this donor.”), 2) The task needs to be reassigned (it doesn’t meet their skill set and more information won’t help) or 3) More motivation-common when other more interesting things exist.

For more answers, check out this Nonprofit  CEO Library.

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