How can project managers boost team accountability?

Monday, February 24th, 2014 By Jack Nevison

On any team, accountability is crucial. Team members need to be held responsible when things go wrong. Everyone needs to know who the decision makers are and who is responsible to see that decisions are carried out properly.

However, as a recent article on Inc.com points out, the term "accountability" is often thrown around by people who do not fully consider its meaning—or its importance.

How can leaders encourage accountability among their teams? The article suggests taking steps to ensure that team members fully understand what is expected of them.

That means explaining every aspect of a project down to the last detail.

"For example, rather than agreeing to send the proposal to your team by the end of the month, agree to send it by 5 p.m. Central Time on Friday, March 28, 2014, in final form with two prior reviews by stakeholders," the article reads. With such specificity, there are no questions about what must be done.

It is especially important to be specific about certain timelines because most people are not good at estimating how long it will take them to finish a particular task. Instead of talking solely in terms of deadlines, "consider your bandwidth and ability to get [a task] done before you agree to the deadline."

At New Leaf Project Management, our 3-day basic program, "Five Sigma Project Management," conveys these lessons in detail. In addition, our white papers, such as "Embracing the Dragon's Tail," and our online QPM games let you learn while you earn affordable PDUs for PMP recertification.

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