Accountability is an important component of successful sales teams. With processes in place that keep sales professionals accountable, teams often wind up with more motivated employees. People who work in environments of accountability typically feel inspired to reach or even exceed their goals, which benefits the entire organization. But how do you build more accountability into your sales culture?

Jim Haudan, co-founder of Root Inc., says that it begins with a mindset shift. Instead of “holding” people accountable, work to “create” accountability. This can lead to powerful changes in people’s engagement, attitudes and results.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we outline Haudan’s guidance on how leaders can create more accountability by giving people a greater sense of ownership and sense of self-accountability.

Believe your team members want to be successful. This is the first step in creating a culture of accountability. You have to believe and trust that people are individuals who want to be accountable, Haudan says. As a sales leader, your job is to shine a light on your team’s talent and explore what obstacles may be getting in their way. Haudan says leaders should continually ask, “How do I help remove barriers to top performance?” Your job isn’t to “hold” people accountable — it’s to help them realize the importance of following through on what they say they will do.

Embrace a sense of shared accountability. Make sure your team members know that you’re in this together. Haudan says that while delegation is an important leadership trait, you shouldn’t just dole out responsibilities and deadlines. This is a formula for failure. Instead, to build a culture of accountability, think about learning to swim. The process won’t happen overnight and can be challenging. But as a leader, you’re there to make sure no one drowns, Haudan says. Step in as a life preserver when needed.

Remember that mistakes will happen. The importance of responsibility and accountability is built with a belief and support of people, where their mistakes are a rich part of the path to success, Haudan says. When sales reps know their sales manager will support them — even if they mess up — it’s an empowering feeling. These professionals will often double down and work harder to show their boss they were right to believe in them.

Help people find their passion. It’s much easier for people to take ownership of their work and fix problems when they arise when they are passionate about what they do. Try to help people find their passion and match new responsibilities to it as much as possible, Haudan says. It’s always a good thing when work and personal passions intersect.

Leaders can’t force accountability. However, they can foster a culture that encourages responsibility. In your organization, start by changing the narrative around accountability. Instead of holding people accountable with threats of consequences, try getting clear on what’s expected.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Jim Haudan co-founded Root Inc., a part of Accenture. He helps organizations unleash hidden potential by fully engaging their people to deliver on the strategies of the business.