That dreaded word that everyone avoids.
Accountability, so what does it really mean?
Everyone has their own feelings about it some people over use it, but most people fear using it because they don’t know HOW to.
Let’s break the word down ACCOUNTABILITY = ACCOUNT + ABILITY
Voila doesn’t that seem easier to understand?
There must be an account for both, ability and lack of it otherwise how would we ever improve. When things are accounted for it helps us take stock and reflect as well as tweak to do better next time. When we look at our own abilities and identify where our gaps are it helps us take the right course of action, ask the right questions and develop the required skills and/or knowledge needed to achieve the expectations set.This is ultimatley what every organisation wants when they say they want to achieve a culture of accountability.
So why are people are so afraid of this helpful word?
The first thing that comes to most managers minds when you think about accountability is documenting peoples performance or having tuff conversations which nobody really likes doing. But Leaders think differently.
As a retail manager, how do you create a culture of accountability that transcends into a positive experience for all?
Start by understanding that everything you account for must have consequences positive or otherwise. For example working out is a discipline of accountability and the pay off is better health and feeling better. Not working out has the opposite effect. Therefor to create a culture of discipline and accountability you must first tune your mindset into this key way of thinking and seeing both positive outcome and the opposite. Don’t only think about accountabilty as a negative.
To do this you must see the benefits to demonstrating accountability.
This is ultimately what we all want to achieve with our teams. Self accountability comes from sharing the positive outcome followed with the not so great consequences of missed action so that everyone is clear on what either outcome will achieve.
You see Accountability fosters a culture of Growth and development and will grow your leadership skills in retail.
To start working towards creating a culture of accountability there a few things to ask yourself.
- Have I been clear with my team as to what I will be accounting for? be clear and specific compliance or standards to be upheld are usually easy ones to start with.
- Does my team have the required ability to achieve it? Have I trained and set them up for success?
- Have I communicated the benefits and outcomes of holding them accountable. Do they understand what it can do for them and the business? or vice versa the opposite effect.
- Have I really ensured that they understand and have buy in to what we have chosen to be accountable for?
- Have we agreed on what the consequences positive or otherwise will be together? no surprises ( this may be one of the most important ones to reflect on)
The more transparent you are with the word accountability the more success you will have. Remember do not throw it around lightly and create a negative emotion for people. If you are not bought-in to what it can do for you then maybe you should take some time and identify in your own life where holding yourself accountable has paid off for example saving for a new car, or dream vacation.
Having accountability partners is also a great way of introducing this behaviour to your team. For example think about something that you want to achieve it could be a process that you just feel isn’t working. Find a partner and ask them to hold weekly touch bases with you, let them know what your goal is and have them call you weekly. We all need accountability partners. Agree on something you will do if you do not meet your goals. It could be to donate money to a charitable organization, come and clean their store, or many other ways to hold your self accountable. Trust me this is a good motivator.
Once you have committed to holding each other accountable then you need to follow through. There is nothing worse than saying you will do something, and then not follow through. Role modelling accountability starts with taking action and meeting your own commitments.
As I was developing my retail leadership skills, I learned this along time ago and even though it is also a struggle for me sometimes with feelings and emotions that get tied up in this word. I have learned the benefits of holding myself and my team mates accountable is the glue that holds commitment to results.
To help you learn more, I created this FREE eBook with over 24 pages of tips. In this eBook you will learn the most common pitfalls that managers make when managing performance and tips to overcome them. Gain access to my Tips and FREE eBook HERE.
You are not alone, managing people is a challenging job, but so rewarding when you make a difference in someone’s life. I hope this eBook helps you) Even better share and tag someone you know could use this development, give them the gift of knowledge.
My goal is to build relevant tools that help you on your retail journey.
April, President & Founder, retailu and a PEOPLE PERSON at HEART!
People Build Brands, We Build People. Our online retail management courses focus on developing your retail leadership skills. Search by competency and create your develop plan today.