Tag Archives: feedback

Mastery at Work – Accountability

Accountability is taking up responsibility for work to be done. A person who accepts accountability accepts the onus of getting desired results. In other words, responsibility is assigned by others and accountability is taken by you, and it is a clear commitment to be kept!

Accountability works at 3 levels, individual, team and organizational level. Since we are speaking of mastery at individual level, we will be delving deep into how to be accountable at our personal level.

All of us have been at various points in time tested over commitment to our professional life versus some emergencies on personal level. I can think of numerous examples of my colleagues sacrificing important occasions like marriages and deaths in family to be able to complete important tasks on hand at work. We would expect most of working population to be accountable, but it is surprising to note that lack of accountability is one of the biggest worries senior executive face at workplace.

This brings us to wonder what makes us accountable? Do we foster accountability as a habit?

Here are the some of the factors which play a major role in making us accountable:

  1. Solid work ethic and character: The first thing which comes to my mind is that people with strong character realize that their work is representation of themselves and go that extra mile put their best into any job assigned to them. Having a strong work ethic and character form the foundation of accountability.
  2. Passion and Perseverance: Being passionate about doing only your best at our jobs and nothing less and also the ability to persevere in spite of various setbacks you encounter during the course of your work.
  3. Love for your job: You may be employed by an organization or may be self-employed, in both the cases, how attached are you to your job role or your business profile makes a lot of difference in the way you look at your work.
  4. Loyalty to the organization: Are you proud to the organization you work for? Do you relate to the vision of the organization? Do you believe in the goals set by the organization for yourself? The more you relate to all the above, the more you feel committed to the cause of the organization and take the accountability to achieve results.
  5. Commitment to goals: Clearly defined goals form the basis of accountability towards results. When you are determined to achieve a goal, you commit yourself to it and you become accountable for achieving it. Ideally goals should be SMART.
  6. Clear direction and planning: Having a clear strategy towards achieving goals helps in focusing better and being committed to work. Particularly during early part of the career, little help from seniors in terms of defining clear goals and tasks to be completed in order to achieve them can go a long way in making work easier for the younger generation.
  7. Clear communication: Effective communication is always simple to understand. Leaders are responsible for clearly communicating what the team is responsible for. In case of individuals, they need to follow up with their reporting managers to understand communication clearly.
  8. Prioritization of the task as per urgency is also an important part of being accountable. Ability to balance tasks will lead to completion of task on time and increase accountability.
  9. Set up reminders to complete tasks in timely manner. Keep constant track of your commitments.
  10. Consistent: Being consistent at your work without slacking. This will mean being punctual, disciplined, following rules and completing task in timely manner.
  11. Monitoring progress: Ability to monitor our progress against targeted goals in a timely manner helps us in knowing whether we are on track with respect to our goals. Ask yourself constantly “How am I doing at my Job?”
  12. Seek feedback: Feedback is crucial to understand how we stack up to expectations of others. Accurate and timely feedback is a very effective learning tool and helps not only you but also the organization to set up a culture genuine accountability.
  13. Training yourself: In case you feel you are not skilled enough to do the job, put in efforts to learn the skills required to complete the job.
  14. Follow-up with others: In case your task is dependent on a team for completion, please remember to follow up with other members of the team on their progress and holding them accountable.

Last but not the least, accountability is about high performance. Contrary to how many people might view it, being highly accountable makes us less stressful, increases our productivity and satisfaction with life, builds trust and credibility and makes people rely on us.

Anecdote: This is a story about four friends named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and this job was assigned to them. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Everybody got angry about that and Somebody had to be blamed and pointed to Anybody who came in vicinity at that moment. Ultimately Nobody owned the responsibility for the work not carried out. Because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have. That’s how important accountability is!

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July 6, 2018 · 1:42 pm

Mastery at Work – Role of Harmony in Success

Not many authors emphasize the role of harmony at work. Harmony at work and at home can be defined as adaption of the human mind to the environment and also to the fellow human beings who work or live with him.

A positive environment between the person and the environment and between the person and people around him results in release of positive chemicals which can increase in will power, energy levels, and performance resulting in stunning achievements. This is typically demonstrated in sports when the team is cheered by supporters, and there is immense team spirit and comradery among the team members.

On the contrary, a negative environment where the culture of the organization is toxic in nature or the person is surrounded by people who are not motivating or discouraging by nature can interfere with hormones to such an extent that the individual might lose his lose confidence and sink into abyss.

This assumes great importance particularly in personal context because spouse has a great influence on state of mind and harmony in general. It is not uncommon to see spouses making or breaking each other’s career.

Similarly in professional setup, lack of harmony is often the most cause, employees leave the organization and business partnerships break. How do we increase harmony at work? It is up the leaders who set up the right culture at work. We should never be lackadaisical about setting up values and culture in the organization. It is important to ensure both management and employees are working towards common goals. Training the employees in culture and values is very helpful.

Hold everyone equally accountable for work expected from them. Define job roles and KPIs very clearly and monitor on regular intervals. Build a strong feedback mechanism. Having well defined processes will avoid a lot of heartburn and rework. Offer support at all times, even if it means dirtying your own hands in case of missed timelines. Establish good work-life balance. Avoid unfair rewards and bonuses at any cost.

Last but not the least, Open door policy helps and employees feel heard in such organizations. There should be consistent effort to hear the employees, keep the ears to the ground.  Socialize outside of work to know your employees better.  Similarly encourage teams to work together.  Training teams on empathy has shown great results in improving harmony.

Interesting Fact: In certain regions in South Africa, when someone does something wrong, he is taken to the centre of the village and surrounded by his tribe for two days while they speak of all the good he has done. They believe each person is good yet sometimes we make mistakes, which is really a cry for help. They unite in this ritual to encourage the person to reconnect with his true nature. The belief is that unity and affirmation have more power to change behaviour than shame and punishment. This is known as Ubuntu-humanity towards others!

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Mastery at Work- Deliberate Practice

One of the important components of attaining Mastery at work is Deliberate Practice. Deliberate practice refers to repetitive practice of important tasks at your job. The practice needs to be systematic, focused, purposeful and done with the end result in mind. The usual end result targeted is improvement in performance.

Deliberate practice consists of the following steps

  1. Planning (setting out work in organized manner, preferably writing down the process for the same).
  2. Focused attention (work with concentration, no distractions)
  3. Continuous Feedback (based on solid measurement of performance, define metrics for the same)
  4. Repetition and rework based on feedback (feedback should be critical and given by an expert/coach)
  5. Reflection (self-Awareness and self-regulated learning based on awareness of one’s own strengths and weaknesses)
  6. Coaching by a mentor/expert ( to track performance based on metrics decided and critical feedback agreed with you).

While we are practicing, it is also very important to remember that you need to like the work you do.

While learning, it is important to embrace criticism and failure and be humble. Be careful not to succumb to insecurities and develop fears when you find a task difficult.

Discipline your mind to face these situations by repeated exposing it to difficult activities which push you outside your comfort zone.

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