iStock_000012546938XSmallToday’s post is the fourth in my five-part series examining the best practices of GREAT bosses.

Are you a great boss to your employees? A great boss is a person who creates and maintains a safe, inspiring work environment where talented, engaged employees THRIVE.

Great bosses create clear performance standards, clear values standards, and hold everyone (including themselves) accountable for both each day.

In these work environments, my research and experience shows that employees perform better (40% or more better), serve customers better (40% or more better), and produce higher profits (30% or more higher).

So far we’ve examined the first three elements in the GREAT acronym: Growth, Relationships, and Excellence. Today, I share how #GreatBosses ensure Accountability.

Great bosses know that consequence management is the avenue to high performing, values-aligned teams. They praise and encourage progress & accomplishment of both goals and valued behaviors. They redirect and, if needed, reprimand, values mis-aligned behaviors and missed performance standards.

Great bosses know that their organization rightfully expects that they and their team will exceed goal standards while demonstrating the organization’s values day in and day out, in every interaction.

Great bosses are only able to inspire their teams to high performance AND values alignment when a combination of joint accountability and individual accountability exists. Joint accountability means the team must deliver; individual accountability means every player must deliver.

Many bosses try to demand both of these types of accountability. Great bosses know they can’t demand it; what they can do is create a work environment where both accountability types thrive.

Here are a few ways that great bosses I’ve observed and studied ensure accountability from their team and it’s members.

Create clear agreements. All great performance and great citizenship starts with clear agreements. Great bosses formalize valued behaviors in an “organizational constitution” that clearly describes how great citizens shall behave – and secure every team members’ commitment to demonstrate those. Great bosses also formalize performance expectations so that every team member understands what an “A+ job” looks like for their tasks, goals, and projects.

Monitor progress regularly. Every day, great bosses pay attention to performance traction and accomplishment as well as the quality of interactions. Great bosses use “consequence management 101”: desired performance progress and values alignment is positively reinforced while undesired performance progress and values mis-alignment is redirected promptly to get team members back on track (and keep them on track).

Delegate responsibility and authority to talented, engaged team members. Great bosses share leadership by enabling team members who demonstrate consistent performance and great team citizenship. Delegation does not mean abdication; great bosses stay connected with team members to be kept informed about progress, issues, learnings, and efficiencies that are discovered.

Engage employees in process improvements daily. Many embedded systems in organizations made terrific sense the day they were developed. And it is likely that there are opportunities to boost efficiency, consistency, and quality today by refining systems, policies, and procedures. Great bosses inspire ongoing process refinements so team members’ jobs grow a little easier as time passes.

Contribute your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below. In what ways have your great bosses held themselves and every team member accountable for performance and values?

What is it like to live in your organization’s culture? Share your experiences in my fast & free Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are described on my blog’s research page.

This research can help you refine your organization’s corporate culture. Contact me to discuss conducting the Performance-Values Assessment in your company.

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S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of The Culture Engine and six other books.
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