How to Drill Down for Greater Learning & Accountability

One of the most difficult skills to learn and implement in the workplace is that of holding others accountable. For specific tips, please download and read my article entitled, “Holding Others Accountable” (download here)

In the ideal workplace, everyone holds everyone else accountable to agreed upon actions, norms or improvement efforts. Cohesive teams do this well. It’s a simple concept, but hard to accomplish because high trust is a prerequisite for the environment. Unfortunately, many  employees believe it’s the job of a manager or supervisor to hold people accountable, simply because they are the ones teaching new skills or relaying information to others about a change initiate.  In reality, these folks just need to get out of the middle. 

One of the easiest ways to enable them in this task is by using cascading communication — a process undertaken by leadership to ensure the decisions and messages of great significance reach employees at every level in the chain of command.  This technique is most often used to achieve clarity on aim or purpose, roles and behavior in an organization, but it is also effective for change initiatives. 

Think of an army of ants.  They all seem to know their job and how they contribute to the end result. Each ant is committed to doing their part and contributing to the end goal without any blaming, supervision, or conflict. They use readily available tools to get the job done. 

Likewise, in the workplace, middle managers must have access to instructional tools that will help them flourish as teachers, role models and coaches.  With them, they can be leveraged to drive accountability. Without them, they can become a bottleneck. This group of leaders need access to a variety of on-the-job resources to reinforce concepts, protocol or improvement efforts, including:

• Coaching discussion starters and questions 

• Job Aides

• Control Charts

• Experience in spotting the “teachable moment”.

• Evaluation techniques for an employee teach back

• Role play scenarios

• Sample email or text messages to send to participants at pre determined intervals

• Online videos or podcasts. 

By actively engaging managers in the reinforcement process and clearly defining their expected role in providing post-teaching coaching discussions, you are much more likely to drive successful adoption of new skills, habits and behavior in the workforce.

Contact Kristine Ranger at 517-974-5697 or