Especially in this new normal where so many of us have team members who are working remotely, keeping our teams accountable is a key element toward productivity.
It's impossible to drive to each person's house to check in and see how they're doing. Besides, we know as leaders that looking over peoples' shoulders isn't effective anyway.
So what can you do to keep your team accountable?
SET CLEAR AGREEMENTS AROUND ACCOUNTABILITY.
People do not often like the word accountability and yet it is an important part of leadership. Accountability goes hand in hand with ensuring that action plans that are discussed actually occurs. Otherwise, it becomes all talk and no action. So, having clear agreements with the team around how they would like to be held accountable regarding their action items is an effective, collaborative method to have in place.
SCHEDULE ONLINE CHECK-INS.
More and more of us are discovering the merits of video conferencing to maintain contact while working remotely, but meeting only occasionally or randomly can actually cause more stress on your team. Having regularly scheduled online meetings that your team can plan for will help them find routine and also give them a specific expectation for when they will need to address their progress. This will help them stay motivated to produce results each week.
With remote work, management platforms like Trello, Monday, or Asana, may be other ways to hold your teams accountable for the work that is being done. It becomes a centralized location for everyone to see what projects needs to be done and who might be accountable for what task. This is also helpful if team members are working on projects that are located in different time zones.
IDENTIFY CLEAR CONSEQUENCES.
At the end of the day, the duties of a strong leader are not always pretty. If you notice a member of your team consistently under-performing, it will fall to you to have a one-on-one conversation outlining both your expectations moving forward and what the consequences will be should the productivity not improve. Be sure that this is an actual conversation though. I encourage you to not simply talk at your team member, but ask them what has been hindering them as well. Take the time to find out what kind of support and/or resources are needed for improvement to occur.
Whether your teams are working remotely or not, accountability is important and when this is disregarded by the leader, it will impact the whole team. So, what is one step you can take to hold your remote or non-remote teams accountable? Remember, when you are working with remote teams, accountability will require a higher level of intentionality from you.