The need for accountable leaders in many agencies is a fundamental challenge. Too often, managers tend to micromanage their team, and employees place blame on one another.
In some aspects, this is what accountability looks like to them. However, this isn’t an effective model for achieving success.
Smart leaders know that accountability should be based on positive notions. Because when they incorporate it effectively, they have a powerful tool on their hands.
To leverage accountability successfully, you must understand the meaning of it first. Often, people confuse the term accountability with responsibility, a task you can share or delegate amongst your team.
Accountability goes beyond being responsible for a task or project. Alternatively, it’s when you take ownership of the outcome of another’s commitment. The person accountable needs to ensure they have a plan and the right measures to succeed.
Accountability starts with you. Whether you’re an owner or manager, your responsibility is to hold people accountable for achieving goals.
However, this construct can lead to ineffective accountability, creating an environment of blame and decreased morale. Instead, leaders should hold themselves accountable for guiding their team and the organization’s success.
As soon as they uphold their accountability, others will follow. Otherwise, a leader who emphasizes deadlines but doesn’t own up to mistakes will have a team full of these same actions.
Internet marketing agencies should keep these fundamentals in check when holding accountability.
Setting clear expectations is what’s expected of you if you’re looking to keep your entire agency accountable. The process starts by gathering the details of your work and writing them down.
You’ll need objectives, milestones, due dates, budgets and ownership rights, so there are no lingering doubts about the scope of work.
Once you have acquired all the details, procedures must be in place — that way, your team knows how to handle issues that arise.
While it is your responsibility to hold yourself and your team accountable, there still needs to be a sense of trust and teamwork. Without it, your employees won’t have the ability to align with your authority.
One of the ways to make people accountable is if the leader is trusting. Therefore, thinking with the mindset of “We” instead of “I” will create more positive results. That’s because people who feel valued by their employer are more motivated to achieve the best possible outcome.
Committing to and refining your objectives is a great way to establish accountability. However, you and your team must keep them at the top of their minds for it to work.
Therefore, you and your team should agree on the objectives together and ensure you hold up your end of the bargain. When you accomplish this task and your goals are realistic, measurable and relevant, your work will be in top shape.
Accountability is more achievable when the leader and team agree upon a desired outcome.
No one likes to make mistakes. Of course, they do happen, and they can be bad news for your agency and the employees who make them.
However, suppose your team doesn’t feel comfortable enough to approach you after they make a mistake. In that case, the problems tend to escalate from there.
Instead of making yourself unapproachable, turn those mistakes into lessons. For example, you could consider having each employee share a problem they’ve encountered and how they fixed it during meetings.
Sharing mistakes can help colleagues learn from others. Yet, it helps your team get comfortable speaking up about their mistakes.
Once an employee owns up to their mistake, you should always provide constructive feedback. Accountability is a process of improvement until you reach perfection.
Good leaders know that positive results depend greatly on the right decisions. However, the right decision relies on the person accountable for carrying it out, when to implement it, who it affects and who to inform.
When these bases are not covered, you ensure trouble.
An effective leader will regularly review decisions. Doing so facilitates proper tracking and enough time to react. That way, you can amend any poor choices before the damage occurs.
When you instill accountability, everybody wins. Because when people take ownership of their outcomes, they achieve a higher level of performance and success.
Accountability is the foundation of trust, support and commitment to excellence. And that basis rewards the agency and its staff.
Practicing accountability can lead to several positive results, including:
When your agency makes accountability a staple of its business, your team becomes more unified. In turn, collaboration ensues, and colleagues are more likely to empower each other and celebrate their successes.
A lack of accountability in your agency can be just as detrimental when using it to instill fear. However, a lack of accountability happens more often than not.
Generally, this is due to an underlying issue — such as unclear responsibilities and roles, poor strategy, limited resources and unrealistic expectations.
When leaders ignore accountability, their agency resorts to becoming a workplace filled with negative traits, including:
Accountability should exist at the start of every project before they set in motion.
The secret to holding accountability is instilling them before the outcome is known. However, the only way to make that happen is through continuous practice.
By reinforcing it as a standard, accountability becomes natural within your agency and will move forward more smoothly.
Eleanor Hecks is the editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.