Fostering a Culture of Accountability in the Face of Uncertainty
Engaging and aligning your team to vital goals is a powerful key to success in calm waters and through storms. During uncertain or rapidly evolving times, leaders often make the big mistake of micromanaging instead of focusing on positive accountability. Whether recognizing an individual’s or a team’s ability to excel beyond expectations, recognition can be a powerful motivator for goal achievement — far more so than money, studies show. Even better is credible, specific recognition, i.e., “You have done an amazing job mastering the new software while working remotely” instead of, “You did a great job.”
MAP clients who continuously fostered positive accountability and make it intrinsic to company culture experience transformative benefits. These organizations work like well-oiled machines. They’re not only productive and progressive, but also create a fun, inspiring work culture.
Steve Behunin, a member of MAP’s Senior Consultant coaching team, helps his clients create incredibly engaged, productive cultures of accountability (even through the pandemic) by simply setting clear expectations and following up with consistent, positive recognition.
“Creating a culture of accountability is deeply tied to raising morale — and it’s not about adding more financial incentives,” he says. “Instead, it’s about giving them guidelines, monitoring and measuring performance, patting people on the back when they do well, and steering them in the right direction when they don’t. The number-one motivator is recognition.”
“Bottom line, people just want to be thanked,” says Behunin, who kicks off every client meeting with the question: Sincerely focusing on the people and their achievements set the stage for a type of leadership that puts its people and the company culture first. And notably, excellence can be anywhere and come from anyone, says Behunin, recalling a payroll administrator who cuts the checks for 1,000 employees.
“In two-months time, he cut 8,000 checks totally error free,” Behunin says. “When I went up to congratulate him for potentially saving the company from thousands of dollars in mistakes and a job well done, a tear rolled down his face. That’s all it took. Whether it’s verbal recognition, a hand-written note or some other kind of positive accountability, that’s what motivates people. After all, the salary or bonus only lasts so long.”