By Solomon Thimothy, CEO of OneIMS and a sales and marketing guru who has built a number of successful companies over the last decade. Read more at Thimothy.com.
When it comes to making sure new hires get the most out of their careers, implementing a mentorship program at your company will ensure they receive the appropriate guidance.
This usually involves someone in a senior role who mentors a new hire (typically hired a year ago or less) and answers questions they may not otherwise ask of a manager. It’s a great program for rookies to better understand the inner workings of a company and gives veterans an opportunity to give back. Both parties can learn something new, whether how operations have evolved or simply a fresh perspective.
However, the mentor and mentee aren’t exactly walking in each other’s shoes. They can learn new things, but they can’t always relate to each other’s experiences. There’s a disconnect when relating to challenges or even accomplishing goals within the company.
Instead, let’s think about how we can create environments where employees can hold one another accountable for performing their best.
Meeting Your Accountability Partner
Remember your very first day on the new job? Fresh out of college, you’d nervously eye everyone around you. Who created successful results in the past? Who could be relied upon for effective feedback?
It’s for these reasons that you want to partner with a colleague who is paddling in the same boat. You don’t have to be the same age, but rather should have the same tenure or similar experiences within a new company. It’s a relatability factor, and it works.
Along with being able to relate to a co-worker, a great accountability partner:
• Gives good advice or feedback: “Will they help me reach my goals by assessing my work honestly?”
• Is dependable: “Can I rely on them to consistently be there?”
• Is trustworthy: “Will they keep what I say private?”
• Can share things without fear of being judged: “Can I share when I’m uncertain of things?”
Ask who might be able to have a mutually beneficial conversation about career ambitions or even workplace concerns. Can you create similar career goals together and hold each other accountable for reaching them?
To create truly effective accountability partner relationships, you have to be willing to commit to helping each other. In that, the only way you hit objectives is if your accountability partner does well.
Accountability Partner Vs. Manager
You may be thinking, isn’t that what a manager is for?
In a typical work environment, a manager acts as a point of contact to help each individual carry out work tasks and monitor benchmarks in line with personal career objectives.
Having a senior manager to report to can be beneficial for retaining approval and moving projects forward. However, it misses some crucial benefits a peer-to-peer relationship might offer. The manager often has to oversee so many heads that important details get left out of conversations. It’s also common that new employees are skeptical of what they should and shouldn’t share with upper management.
A manager’s purpose is to keep everyone on task with the greater organization. While this is true, they’re usually not in the trenches executing the work, either.
With an accountability partner, both parties are learning and carrying out the same tasks. The feedback loop is fast and effective. Perhaps your accountability partner has familiarity with a role from a previous job or you’re both just getting your feet wet, walking the same path and sharing the same experiences.
There is also the metric of being able to teach each other. There is no hesitancy when asking questions and no shame in admitting you’re having a hard time. Each individual can pull another up with their intellectual strengths and get help where it’s needed.
Different Types Of Accountability Partners
As mentioned, some partners can benefit from matching with a co-worker who shares a similar competitive drive. These two individuals thrive on setting high-level benchmarks and, if they are able to maintain a healthy mindset, can benefit from challenging each other.
Other situations will call for accountability partners that have varying work styles, such as partner colleagues who work in varying sectors. A customer support rep and a product manager can benefit from holding each other accountable in their very different roles. One can learn about the end customer’s focal points and the other gets a new look into the weeds of managing a product. This partnership style helps create cohesion in a company and gives everyone perspectives of what each role entails.
Setting Clear Objectives
The most effective way for an accountability partner relationship to succeed is to get serious about making sure objectives are met. That means getting clear on objectives and keeping timelines intact.
Do you want to increase customer satisfaction through an NPS score? Is your focus building new relationships for the greater organization? Help one another set goals that will lead to both individual and greater organizational success.
Use the following guideline ideas to make sure you’re holding each other accountable:
• Monday objectives and Friday check-ins.
• Keeping a positive attitude.
• Beginning- and end-of-month goals.
• Nonwork related mental-health check-ins.
• Hard-skill and soft-skill improvements.
With rewards, you can use a little bit of creativity and fun. Take turns buying each other coffee, take lunch outside of the office, or even consider holding a companywide retreat.
Making It Worthwhile
There are myriad different ideas for getting colleagues to work together more cohesively. You don’t have to stick with one accountability partner. Find someone with whom you feel comfortable. Help your colleagues hit goals by way of support, honest feedback and sticking to the goals you set out to accomplish.