Is Your Team Struggling to Meet Deadlines? Here’s 5 Accountability Hacks That Work

When your team is small, say up to 25-30 people you can personally be involved and follow up on all critical projects to insure they meet your budget, quality, and time expectations. But as the team grows your personal involvement become impossible. You have to do five things that may be very hard for a leader who prefers a hands on style.

1) Work with those involved in all aspects of delivering the product or service to put a system or process in place. The involvement of the people who actually implement and execute the system is crucial. Why? Without their involvement and input they will not have ownership. And you need them to own the process in the most personal way.

2) Make the process measurable. It is important to and answer who is going to do what and by when? Absolute clarity is required so that everyone knows their roles. When possible daily reports should come back to you that reflect actual performance against the goal. This will allow you to respond to all performance gaps in a timely manner.

3) Respond quickly and clearly as you become aware of performance gaps. For example, if you see that someone on your team missed their performance goal you are to approach them immediately. Do this face to face if possible. By phone is the next best option. You do not attack, you simply begin with a question. “I see that you missed your goals. Please explain.” The way you ask this question matters a great deal. When employees learn that your normal response is “to kill the messenger” you will not get a complete response. But if you earn their respect and show that you want to help them solve problems and overcome hurdles their answers, because of the trust you have earned, will be more forthcoming.

By engaging quickly it sends a message of urgency, a message you hope they will share. By engaging productively you will learn the strengths and weaknesses of your processes and your people. With this knowledge you can bring all your own personal and professional resources to bear.

4) Offer constructive criticism with the spirit of a teacher, mentor, or coach. No one (that includes you) likes to be criticized. Criticism builds walls. It makes people defensive. Be humble and approach your employees as someone who continues to learn and grow. And mistakes are great teachers. Your employees need to learn from you that they can do better. Your genuine approach much like a coach of a sports team will convince them in time that you are as committed to their personal and professional growth as they are. You will see productivity improve, attitudes brighten, and loyalty increase with a more coach-like approach.

5) Be generous with your praise. When people succeed by producing results that are high quality, under budget, and on time make a big deal out of it. Celebrate! Make as public a spectacle out of it as you can. Hand out awards that show your appreciation. By doing so it serves as an example to all employees. It allows them to see what can happen if they meet their goals too.

If your team is struggling right now don’t lose heart! Apply these five accountability hacks and you will see performance improve quickly.

Michael Duke is the Founder and CEO of Michael Duke and Associates, Inc. and NEWSCHOOL Recruiting. He works with organizations who want their managers to lead with purpose and build high performing t#ceams. His services include leadership training and consulting, recruiting and retention consulting, culture building and improvement as well as team building. He is the author of two books. Lead Like a Coach; Leadership Lessons from Legendary Coaches and Coach to the Goal; Ten Truths to Transform Your Team into Winners. Find and follow Michael here: and