While I was sitting with a client, an employee delivered a piece of work that was late. My client quickly glanced at it, tossed it on to the table, then said, “He should be embarrassed to hand in this work to me.”
This employee totally ignored the importance of the assignment, handed in something sloppy and incomplete, and didn’t really care that what he delivered was unacceptable.
My client philosophized that one of the ways he defines a lack of accountability is when employees deliver work that should embarrass them.
Leaders need to clarify their expectations to their employees, but many times this just doesn’t happen. Employees get chewed out because they produce inadequate work, but they didn’t really have sufficient parameters.
This wasn’t the case with my client. He had specifically outlined his expectations, and, well, you know the rest of the story.
Leaders need to establish standards for what they expect. When you don’t do this, it opens the door for employees to produce whatever they feel like. You can’t expect your employees to follow high standards if you don’t reinforce the criteria.
You don’t need to worry about employees who desire to do their best, have pride in what they produce, and even go the extra mile to achieve it.
But what about those who do the minimum, rush through it so they can bolt out the door at 5:00, and act indifferently about how their work affects the bigger picture of their department?
If you want high standards, you need to reinforce your guidelines consistently. Telling people once isn’t going to change behavior, and accepting sloppy work and redoing it yourself isn’t going to hold your employees accountable.
Think about how you can regularly reinforce standards by actions and words. You’ll be teaching accountability, a stronger work ethic, and over time your employees will get the message that nothing less than the standards you set is acceptable.
Have a great week!