Project Management

Accountability Requires Commitment

Rick Brandon

Accountability” is a hot word in business these days, a vital one for project managers, especially if they have responsibility without position-level authority. Accountability is defined as “the willingness to accept responsibility for one's actions”—or for one’s non-actions. Just to cheer you up, think of project team members who are stressing you out by not taking ownership. You're pulling your hair out because (1) they're not doing what you want, (2) they're doing something you don't want them to do and need them to stop doing, or (3) they're doing something in the wrong way.

The pathway to enduring accountability involves gaining effective commitments. But so many commitments fall short. Sometimes we're actually the problem due to having three faulty commitment expectations that perpetuate our stress and frustration. Accountability is a two-way street. Project managers need to accept responsibility for avoiding these common faulty expectations around gaining commitments. You may not even be aware you carry these faulty expectations, but they doom your expectations about others’ actions, results, deadlines, quality, team norms, and a host of other work needs critical for project success.

1. Expecting Others to Be Mind Readers

The first flawed commitment expectation is expecting others to be mind-readers, leading having too few conversations to obtain commitments. …


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