Being Accountable When You Don’t Have Control#
Clarify your manager’s expectations: what, why, when, and who.
When approaching a colleage:
Share the requirements.
Ask for required steps, and estimates.
Ask what else is on their plate, and how this task fits within their priorities.
Share the stakes: communicate the importance, where it fits in with other initiatives, how it affects stakeholders, and the ramifications if you cannot deliver.
If the person is on another team, have their manager and yours present.
Set up a tracker. Document the plan, milestones, and deadlines. Configure automatic reminders instead of nagging personally.
Set up recurring meeting to share emerging challenges.
Express gratitude that the person is sharing their concerns rather than showing frustration.
If possible, remove the roadblocks, otherwise escalate them to the manager.
When escalating don’t handoff the accountability. Instead, ask for advice and coaching.
If the colleage falls behind on delivery, provide the feedback using the following structure:
Orient to the Situation: in the plan, you committed to having the code done on Tuesday.
Describe their Behavior: It’s Thursday, and you haven’t finished it yet.
Share the Impact: I’m getting worried that I’ll only have three days for quality testing.
Hand Over Accountability: What would it take to get this by the end of the day?
After delivery take time for reflection, build relationships, foster empathy and trust.
This framework spells out a common sense approach to being accountable without having control. Going through this check list ensures efficient collaboration and improves relationships, if done properly.