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This chapter is from the book

Accountability in Completing a Task or Project

Managing accountability requires two primary elements:

  1. Having a clear understanding of what needs to be done
  2. Being expected to produce the assigned task within a given time frame

Accountability applies to managers overseeing an assigned objective and the staff assigned the actual task items to be completed. The focus here is on having team players take ownership of task items and having the overseeing manager be held accountable for the task’s completion. As just a reminder, managers are responsible for getting processes completed in their department and hiring staff to carry out the tasks. Team members need to be held to a quality standard in producing their task. It is one thing to complete an assignment, but the accountability needs to ensure completeness in both scope and quality of what is being produced.

Managers have a tendency to overcommit in meetings or to say that they will complete projects or task items when they don’t really have the data to support what their team can actually do. This can be dangerous for the team because they had no input on the commitment but are now held accountable for that commitment. This can also be bad for the manager because it will be difficult to keep the team focused on the scope of the project and on schedule. Do not sell your team short by inaccurately committing, but rather find the correct information and then update the other managers on what you are committing to. This will increase your credibility with not only your peers but also your team.

After the project is underway, the flow of information is critical. How often does the management team meet to get the status on tasks or projects? Meeting too often does not allow enough time for task items to complete, but not meeting frequently enough takes the accountability away from the managers in reporting accurately. Status meeting must be scheduled frequently enough to capture the right amount of data to be reported yet be efficient in management’s time and mitigating of problems. Not knowing about problems as quickly as possible can have a detrimental effect on the task or project.

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