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How to set clear expectations to promote accountability

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

Darren (1)

The first and most crucial step is discussing accountability and accountable behaviour. Setting clear expectations is essential to promoting accountability in any organisation. When employees understand what is expected of them, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and feel responsible for their outcomes. In today’s blog, we will explore how to set clear expectations to promote accountability. 

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How can we set clear expectations?

1. Be specific and detailed

When setting expectations, it’s essential to be specific and detailed. Vague expectations can lead to clarity and understanding, leading to accountability issues. For example, instead of saying, “I want you to finish this project by the end of the week,” be more specific and say, “I want you to complete these specific tasks by Friday at 5 PM.” Providing precise details and expectations eliminates ambiguity and gives your employees a clear path forward. 

2. Set goals and milestones.

Another way to promote accountability is to set goals and milestones for your employees. When employees have specific goals to work towards, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and feel responsible for their outcomes. Goals should be measurable, attainable, and relevant to the employee’s role and responsibilities. In addition to setting long-term goals, it’s important to set short-term milestones that help employees track their progress and stay on track. 

3. Provide feedback

Feedback is essential to promoting accountability. With feedback, employees may know how well they are performing and whether they are meeting expectations. Feedback should be specific, constructive, and timely. Provide feedback regularly, both positive and negative, to help employees understand how they are doing and what they can do to improve.  

4. Lead by example

Leadership sets the tone for accountability within an organisation. As a leader, you must model the behaviour you expect from your employees. Be accountable for your work and take responsibility for your outcomes. When employees see their leaders taking ownership of their work and striving for excellence, they are likelier to do the same. 

5. Communicate clearly and regularly

Effective communication is critical to promoting accountability. Communicate expectations clearly and regularly and provide updates on progress and changes as needed. In addition, make sure employees have access to the information they need to do their jobs effectively and be available to answer questions and provide guidance as needed.

6. Encourage ownership and responsibility

Finally, encourage employees to take ownership of their work and feel responsible for their outcomes. Provide opportunities for employees to take on new challenges and responsibilities and recognise and reward employees who take the initiative and go above and beyond. When employees feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for their work, they are more likely to take accountability for their outcomes. 

7. Involve employees in the goal-setting process

When employees are involved in setting their goals, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and feel accountable for their outcomes. When setting goals, include employees in the process and encourage them to set goals that are challenging but attainable. 

8. Be consistent

Consistency is critical when setting expectations. Ensure that expectations are consistent across all employees and applied fairly and consistently. Consistent behaviour will help to build trust and credibility within the organisation and promote a sense of fairness and equality. 

9. Provide resources and support

Employees need the resources and support to meet their expectations. Ensure that employees can access the tools, training, and resources to do their jobs effectively. Provide support and guidance and encourage employees to ask for help when needed.

10. Celebrate successes

When employees meet or exceed expectations, they celebrate their successes. Recognition and rewards can reinforce positive behaviour and encourage employees to strive for excellence. Celebrate successes publicly and encourage employees to share their accomplishments with their colleagues.

11. Address accountability issues

If employees need to meet expectations, addressing the issue promptly and constructively is essential. Provide feedback on specific areas for improvement and work with employees to develop an improvement plan. If the problem persists, take appropriate action to address the situation. 

Conclusion

In summary, setting clear expectations is essential to promoting organisational accountability. Encourage employees to take ownership of their work and feel responsible for their outcomes. Provide opportunities for employees to take on new challenges and responsibilities and recognise and reward employees who take the initiative and go above and beyond. When employees feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for their work, they are more likely to take accountability for their outcomes. Finally, remember to communicate expectations clearly and regularly and provide feedback on performance regularly to ensure that employees stay on track and continue to meet expectations.