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How to Hold Someone Accountable?

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

Home » Accountability » How to Hold Someone Accountable?

Holding someone accountable

Sometimes, you kept from holding someone accountable just because you don’t want to see your image turning out as bad in front of others.

However, holding someone accountable does not mean that you are blaming them. Accountability is a commitment and responsibility that one takes over an outcome. It is about taking the initiative for a strategic and thoughtful follow-through.

A higher executive can’t be held accountable unless the employees working under them are committed to their task. So, the struggle lies in how you can have someone responsible for not meeting their performance?

We will discuss some accountability mindsets and ways you can hold someone accountable without being an arrogant person.

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Accountability Mindsets

Here are the fundamental beliefs which people have concerning accountability that needs a change.

Belief #1

Holding people accountable for their actions can result in damaged relationships. If you are not always agreeable and pleasant, you might lose employees, clients, and candidates.

What should be done?

You need to address people’s behavior and issues respectfully and honestly without accusing them. This way, people will respect you and try to make changes in their behavior.

Belief #2

People believe accountability as administering punishments/consequences for not behaving properly and adhering to commitments.

What should be done?

Accountability is knowing the consequences of the choices and decisions you are making. So, if you are prioritizing an urgent task over another, your manager will appreciate your judgment.

Belief #3

When you hold someone accountable, they resent it and then try to distance themselves as you put them in a bad light.

What should be done?

People always desire to show their better selves. But, if you can make people understand in a pleasant way where they went wrong, you are helping them to become even better at what they do. If you don’t hold them accountable, they will never know their mistakes or ever took responsibility for them.

Ways to Hold Someone Accountable In a Respectful Manner

You need to change their mindset and help them develop skills to take accountability positively. So, below are five methods you should follow if you want to hold someone accountable without letting any grudges coming into the relationship.

Set Clear Expectations

You need to make it clear what you expect from the other person. Let them know about the outcomes you expect and how you are going to measure the success. Therefore, it is important to have a two-way conversation to instruct them and ask for their opinions.

Clear Measurement of the Outcome

The lack of optimism between the employee and the employer might result in a dramatic situation. The hesitation in asking over the problems and not taking enough initiative to help the employee can lead to failures.

You can easily avoid this if you clear out the objectives and measurable targets while setting the expectations. So, you both need to sit together, brainstorm ideas, or develop solutions for the current situation to get back on track.

Setting Out the Capabilities

If you are allocating work to someone, you need to know whether he has the skill and resources to fulfill the target on time or not. Also, you should think of what resources and abilities will he/she need to meet the requirements.

If you think that your chosen employee doesn’t have such skills, you might need to transfer the responsibility to someone more capable.

Providing Honest Feedback

Regular feedback helps people to know where they are making mistakes. You need to be open and honest about their performance. So, if you have set clear measurements, expectations, and capabilities, you need to provide them feedback on whether they stand out on each criterion or not.

The feedback can come from both sides; you can also ask your employees how they can be more helpful to them.

Knowing the Consequences

Once you have made people understand what you expect from them, their capabilities, and the feedback, you will know about the consequences. Also, you will see how you can support your employees to achieve the desired results.

Now, you have no choice but to repeat the above steps to understand if the person is still unclear. You will know where exactly the person failed to accomplish the task and what circumstances led to such failure.

Final Thoughts

Holding someone accountable does not mean you are pinpointing their mistakes or making them the only responsible person in the situation. In fact, you are making them understand what you expected from them and where they went wrong in delivering the results.

It is the most challenging part of leaders when it comes to holding someone accountable. They can’t escape from the fact that by doing so, they are tolerating, causing, or contributing to unacceptable behaviors.

But, you can avoid such situations by following the above-mentioned methods to hold someone accountable in a respectful manner. This way, you can maintain a healthy relationship in your organization.