When most people think of accountability they think of a negative reaction to a situational outcome. This, at times, is the case. However the most effective way to motivate your employees is to reward them with recognition of a job well done. This recognition is a form of accountability and can be the best way to get the most out of the largest expense and precious commodity a small business owner has.
At the same time this is the most difficult practice for a small business owner to become proficient at due to the sheer lack of practice one receives. It also seems to be the most overwhelming thing for individuals to do is to confront a situation head on that makes people uncomfortable, CONFLICT! For whatever the reason, people tend to struggle with conflict in every facet of their lives. The majority of people would rather have someone walk all over them than confront a situation or person with something that they are not okay with, even when they have every right to speak their minds and expect more. This is the case for most business owners as well.
Here are 4 simple steps that I have found helpful in preparing for the accountability meeting of an employee:
1. Before discussing the issue with the person in question, make sure to know exactly what the issue is
By doing this will help to insure that you are able to articulate your feelings clearly so that the employee has no possibility of confusing the message you are conveying.
2. Make sure that when you feel comfortable and ready to discuss the issue with the employee you take that person to a place where there is sufficient privacy so as to not provoke a defensive reaction to your feedback.
By taking this person aside from his or her peers there is a good chance the employee will hear your feedback even if it is critical. When given the same feedback publically the reaction tends to be much more negative because they have no choice but to react to save face.
3. To make this experience positive, clearly define what is expected of the employee before he or she leaves this meeting.
This gives them a sense of stability and a feeling of being able to be successful because they know exactly what you want as an employer.
4. And lastly when in one of these type meetings, provide what I call two percent feedback.
The best way to explain this is: Most people around you will tell you what you want to hear, or more accurately what they think you want to hear. The other two percent is what will help them to be a better employee and sometimes a better person. This is what is to be given in a positive and up lifting way. Explaining to them the reason that you are about to tell them these things is not to be mean or cruel but to help them grow as a person and an employee. When told this information in this way they will never react poorly because you are showing that you care about them, not only as an employee, but as a person. More than anything people want to be appreciated for the hard work that they accomplish.