While your company’s success is easily evaluated by the physical quality of your work (e.g. landscape quality), don’t forget about financial success, healthy culture, employee and client turn over, and more. When you identify that success is not being met, you must consider what is causing this, who is responsible, or what process needs to be reevaluated.
Every individual in your company should have results they are responsible for. Better yet, everyone should know their assigned role and what responsibilities fall into that role. While assigning responsibilities by role is the most successful method of accountability, what is most important is how you address commitments not fulfilled. Why is this so important? Because it sets the tone of what you expect, and it can dramatically affect your team's rate of growth.
How to Hold Employees Accountable
So, how should you address an employee who did not fulfill their commitment? Make it uncomfortable. This does not mean publicly addressing the problem in an inappropriate manner. You must have positive intent and handle the situation in a professional manner. However, the goal is to not make the situation comfortable. That means, don’t let them off easy. If the problem has become a pattern, it is ok to politely call them out in front of other employees, it doesn’t have to wait until later. Other people’s lack of results has an impact on the entire company.
Here’s how this might look. If your sales manager has committed to performing 25 cold calls per week, but it is Friday morning and they have not met the metric, bring it up. Ask them what their game plan is. Apply pressure for the commitment to be fulfilled.
If an account manager is behind on preparing contract renewals, bring it up. Explain the importance of the renewals being performed timely (so you have the ability to continue invoicing and servicing the property). This means that one manager's lack of follow-through may prevent another manager's ability to perform their job (invoice or schedule) in addition to impacting the company's cash flow.
The same goes for frontline employees. If you notice an individual is not performing to your companies’ standards, bring it to their attention. Bring them into the office and have the uncomfortable conversation. You can even subtly make it uncomfortable by taking pictures of their poor work and using it as a training opportunity for the entire team (without naming the individual).
Creating a Culture of Accountability
No one enjoys being uncomfortable, especially when they are at fault. Oftentimes, it will not take more than one uncomfortable situation for an individual to fix their mistake and ensure it doesn’t happen again. For some, this might be what it takes to break an old habit and build a new one.
It’s important to note, as a leader, that this goes both ways. If you have committed to something and not fulfilled it, you are equally as deserving to be called out. You need to make this clear to your team in order for this to come across as helpful criticism and not a power-move.
As you do this more often, it will become familiar to everyone. Ideally, the entire team will be comfortable pointing out other individuals. This is what we call becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. This not only results in personal growth for yourself and your team, but it will allow your company to grow as well. When you shift from a culture of avoidance to a culture of facing uncomfortable situations and bringing them to light, the quality, efficiency, and productivity of your company will increase.