When a colleague or direct report fails to follow through on a task or promise, it’s rarely intentional. More often, it’s the result of an underlying issue, such as unclear responsibilities or unrealistic goals. To identify what’s really going on — and fix it — check to make sure you’re not part of the problem. Instead of wondering, “Why aren’t they doing their part?” ask “Is there anything I can do differently to help?” Then, approach the individual for their perspective. For example, if the person is constantly missing deadlines, you could say, “I’ve noticed that you seem to need a little more time to get the work done lately.” Provide specific examples, then ask, “What can we do to help you get back on track?” If your team member feels emotionally safe, they are more likely to work with you to solve the problem. Finally, work together to set realistic expectations and a plan for moving forward. And, of course, agree on a way to measure progress, so the problem doesn’t happen again.

This tip is adapted from “Does Your Team Have an Accountability Problem?” by Melissa Raffoni

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