Discussing Projects List

Managers spend a lot of energy instilling in their team members a sense of accountability. One of the best ways to do so is with a discussion focused on their projects list. Very simply, a projects list is a listing of every project an employee has agreed to complete. The list isn't a step-by-step plan of how to complete the project. It's a menu of all the projects for which the employee is responsible.

Once the list of all projects is created, ask your employees to review the list every day, or at a minimum, once a week. When they review, they ask themselves: "What is the next action required for each item? When is the right time to take the next action?" This is self-management, planning and organizing in action. Bring this alive in a conversations with your employees regularly. 

It's important to let your team members know that if they realize they won't be able to complete something as planned, they are expected to have a conversation about that with whomever was expecting results. That conversation can be straightforward: explain what is happening and what you need. Let your employees know this kind of conversation builds trust and safety in their relationships with other team members.

You can be your employees' accountability guide, by modeling the behavior you want to see and keeping others on your team informed of your project list. As a manager, you are a role model, so show employees how to follow-through and follow-up. Do what you say you will do - that's the central tenet of personal accountability.

As a manager or coach, get in the habit of asking those you are guiding, "How will I know when you have accomplished the desired result?" It's a question that requires your employees to think through the next action steps they will take, and to remind themselves-and you-exactly how they will keep you apprised of their progress. Encouraging the use of a project list, and reviewing that list together with your employees regularly, is the best way to support your team members in their efforts to be accountable and responsible.