Gauteng Business News

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HR: Making That Coveted Promotion a Reality


Recent Gauteng Business News

Individuals who are able to hold accountability discussions with their co-workers and bosses are typically more influential and more valued within an organisation, says Jay Owens, Master Trainer at organisational performance company, The Human Edge.

It is unfortunate that when placed in a work environment the majority of us stumble when faced with authority or having to deal with a sensitive issue with a colleague. We tend to keep quiet when a fellow employee or boss misses a deadline or behaves inappropriately rather than expressing our concerns and frustration.

Individuals Fear Negative Outcomes in Job Conversations

A Crucial Conversations Survey undertaken by VitalSmarts, international partner to The Human Edge, discovered that the primary reasons for participants avoiding accountability discussions in the office are that they are afraid of possible negative outcomes. Conversations about behaviour, expectations and performance are avoided by individuals because of the perceived risk of making enemies, enduring a miserable argument or being dismissed.

It is evident through the results of the survey, that quality of work life is negatively affected when people avoid these difficult discussions. Owens says, “Instead of holding their bosses or coworkers accountable, people resort to a host of unproductive tactics such as working around or avoiding the person or talking behind the person’s back. These can have serious repercussions on relationships, productivity and ultimately our health.”

The Human Edge Recommends the Following for Holding People Accountable:

1. Master the “Hazardous Half Minute.” – most accountability conversations fail in the first thirty seconds. Survive the “Hazardous Half Minute” by creating safety—when you help people feel psychologically safe with you, they drop their defenses and listen. When you don’t, they resist your influence and either blow up or say nothing.
2. Stick to the Facts – when someone lets you down, you usually come up with your own rationalisation as to why he or she failed, such as selfishness, laziness, or incompetence. Avoid false conclusions by starting your crucial accountability conversation with the facts, not judgments or accusations. Precisely describe the gap, in behavioural terms, between your expectations and what you have observed.
3. Take Charge of Emotions – when someone lets you down, avoid the tendency to feel disappointed and upset. We tend to escalate our emotions by exaggerating our conclusions and judgments. Try to give the person the benefit of the doubt, while you prepare to talk with him or her in a way that helps you draw accurate conclusions. Maintain dignity at all times – never allow emotions to dictate the tone of the interaction.
4. Pick the Issue You Really Care About – most problems come in large bundles. A single infraction may include anything from a procedural violation to inappropriate behavior or broken promises. Address the most important issue, not the easiest, and resolve the problem that really matters.

Owens says that co-author of the New York Times bestseller Crucial Conversations, Joseph Grenny has highlighted learning skills for holding accountability discussions as the quickest way for one to boost their career. “2012 has kicked-off at a rapid pace and employees looking to make an impact and to advance their career this year will need to learn how to hold others in the workplace accountable

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