How to Build Unshakable Trust and Accountability at Your Office

Nobody has to tell you—creating an atmosphere of employee accountability and trust can be difficult. You have to set clear performance expectations … deliver constant feedback … and have a strategy for follow-through when employees aren’t meeting the mark. And you have to do it all without coming off as a tyrant or micromanager. Even more importantly, when you have to come down on someone, you have to balance getting your message across with keeping the work relationship healthy.

One of the first considerations in accountability is to clearly define the required behaviors and expectations. Employees need to understand what they are expected to accomplish and in what manner. This means that the expectations must be clearly defined and communicated up front. With these definitions in place, managers can be clear in messaging, consistent in expectations and reasonable in enforcement of noncompliance.

Giving employees regular feedback about their contributions to the success of the team and the organization will go a long way in motivating and attaining high levels of performance. Feedback once a year is not enough for any level of employee performance. Seek opportunities to partner with employees and draw them into process decisions and decision making. Acknowledge employees who meet or exceed key performance indicators. Make these accomplishments known to their team members with public appreciation.

Fostering Trust

Trust among members is essential for teams to work effectively and be accountable to each other. Little is accomplished in a group until individuals trust one another. The result of a trusting and cooperative atmosphere is member satisfaction and maximum group productivity—including collaboration. Because of this, forming a climate of trust is one of the most important tasks a team can accomplish.

Trust Among Colleagues Is:

  1. Respecting each other’s emotions, reactions and expressions of feelings
  2. Placing confidence in others so they will be supportive, even when they know your weaknesses
  3. Assuming that other people will not intentionally hurt you
  4. The sense that things are fine and nothing can disrupt the positive work flow and communication
  5. Mutual respect
  6. Open and honest communication, including fears and concerns
  7. Assistance offered freely
  8. Not ostracizing anyone for a mistake or differing opinion
  9. The ability to be vulnerable and be confident that others will treat you in a fair, open and honest way

Employee accountability does more than improve workplace productivity. It improves the quality of work—and it creates a more positive work environment. When employees know that they’re accountable for what they do—and how well they do it—they know they’re in control of their own success. And that doesn’t just make them work harder; it actually boosts their morale and their opinion of you as the boss!

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