Every leader worth their salt understands the true power of effective communication. It is in many respects the circulatory system of a living, breathing organization. But do you as supervisors fully comprehend how far effective communication can actually reach? One of the barometers measuring your success as a supervisor is the ability to encourage accountability amongst your people. Accountability by employees displays the desire to take responsibility for the outcome of their daily actions – and speaks strongly to their desire to achieve excellence.
The best way to introduce accountability and ensure that it becomes a permanent component of the work culture in your organization is through communication. Clarity of purpose is something that needs to be illustrated in a congruent manner. This is most effectively achieved by outlining a step by step process that employees can follow in order to become accountable. The communication involved becomes crucial to success.
Without understanding, there can be no progress towards accountability. Employees, through succinct communication need to incorporate the basic tenets of accountability into their awareness.
- is personal and not shared at the same level in an organization
- is ultimately for business purposes
- requires room for personal judgment
- is unconditional
- is primary for the organization as a whole and belongs to everyone
- is founded on a fair business bargain
These six concepts have been broken down and examined at length in previous papers entitled Accountability I & II, and can be easily referenced through the link. Our objective here is not to re-hash previously covered material. Instead it is our intention to underline to supervisors the overall importance of using effective communication in order to achieve improved employee motivation and performance through accountability.
Communication of course, is manifested in a manner of different ways. In order to ensure that the proper message is being sent by leadership and clearly received by their staff, all methods of communication must be practiced. Alongside the information presented below, you may also wish to refer to our thoughts on aptitudes that can further supervisory understanding of communication: Effective Communication: Putting Miscommunication in its Place.
The most obvious form of communication (and many times the most overlooked). In order to reinforce the ideology of a new idea and ensure your people are aware of its importance and accentuated position in overall work culture, The concept being championed needs to be on supervisor’s lips on a consistent basis. Speaking of the new concept – in this case accountability – regularly and verbally reinforcing its integration into everyday work activities is an effective method of raising staff awareness. Repetition is the Father and Mother of conscious recall. It works.
There is a reason that you can sit down to watch an hour long television drama and see the same damn commercial six times within that time period. Granted, that level; of repetition can become annoying, actually operating to move people away from the concept being accentuated. We do not suggest or condone supervisors constantly harping on an issue, throwing it in people’s faces every chance they get. Instead, it is recommended that leaders use opportunities that present themselves through natural business conversation throughout the day to skillful insert their point into the natural flow of communication, demonstrating how something such as accountability fits into many aspects of everyone’s work culture.
This method of course moves hand-in-hand with verbal communication. Speaking is of course further reinforced through accentuated body language. A new concept’s importance can be exemplified through someone’s attentive posture, positive facial expressions and even gestures. Using hands to stress areas of importance that employees need to focus on can be very effective.
Also falling into the non verbal spectrum is communication through writing. In the case of accountability, this occurs through the process of composing an Accountability Agreement, As illustrated in our previous blog posts, this is the actual document that outlines and confirms what exactly is expected of an employee in their daily work in order to produce the desired projected outcomes. By solidifying understanding through written communication, clarity of purpose is reinforced, and little room is left for misinterpretation of expectation.
Using this method is arguably one of the most effective ways to illustrate a new concept. When supervisors lead from a top-down perspective, they themselves take on the same expectations and requirements being asked of their people. In this case, their responsibilities entail completing an accountability agreement themselves, and faithfully abiding by its tenets without cutting corners or skipping crucial steps.
In this manner, leaders are not only able to demonstrate the importance of a concept and practice through active solidarity with their people, they can – through successful navigation of the process – show the rewards endemic to individuals who actively participate in accountability themselves. When employees understand that the extra effort and work that it put into the accountability process is reciprocated with commensurate reward, they are much more likely to display enthusiasm for the project, and demonstrate motivation to likewise participate and excel in the new paradigm.
Communication can then be seen to be the foundation upon many other important business transactions can be built. Providing clarity, continuity and a firm understanding by leading by example, supervisors can ensure that their employees are on the same page and fully on board with new business practices that are deemed important by the organization as a whole. When everyone is “pulling in the same direction” collective business goals that benefit the group as a whole are placed within the realm of reasonable attainability, providing for rewards that advance everyone towards a positive and successful business culture.