In HR, documentation makes the world go ‘round. I talk about it in every consultation I have with our members. However, it isn’t because I like to hoard documents on my computer or pieces of paper on my desk (Although, my desk and computer might tell a different story). It isn’t because I am only concerned about liability (Although, helping to diminish liability is an excellent side effect). My primary purpose in insisting on documentation is to help you be a more confident, competent leader!
Competent and confident leadership doesn’t happen overnight. I hope that you have had experience with both – confident leaders who are not competent and competent leaders who are not confident. Having someone to model your behavior after is important but so is having an example of what to avoid!
There are several skills that help you be a confident, competent leader but understanding accountability is a big part and a great place to start. Accountability is multi-faceted and important to drive both business results and staff retention and performance.
The Facets of Accountability:
- Preparing: You have to be ready for accountability. Your handbook must be up to date. It provides specific policies with your team so they know what is expected of them and what they can expect of you. Your handbook also provides guidelines to you as a leader to help you navigate the employee/employer relationship. Not only must your handbook be up to date… you should have a good understanding of what it says!
- Establishing: Although your handbook spells it out, we are required to prepare our employees to rise to our expectations if we are seeking those results. Through clear explanation of the role, proper training and coaching along the way, you are building up to the best performance possible.
- Reminding: Your employees don’t stop being human beings just because they walk through the office doors and start working. They may need some reminders as they progress. The cashier at your favorite department store asks you if you are interested in their rewards/credit card every SINGLE time, right? That is because their manager… and their manager… and their manager talk about it a lot. Reminders keep practice consistent and practice drives results!
- Documenting: This is where my documentation obsession comes in! Not just your conversations with your staff – documentation is time and attendance records and important metrics to their performance (just to name a few). It is what you have, other than your employee’s word, that the they are performing to the best of their ability. It also helps you recall information more accurately, ask the right questions in follow up and know when it is time to do more than just talk about an issue.
Being a Confident and Competent Leader happens slowing over time. And it is WORK - there is really no way around it. Accountability may seem like a scary place to start but while you are working on your leadership abilities you are improving your team’s performance and driving a more positive work culture. Talk about a great leader!
If you would like to connect about how the IDOC Employee Handbook program can help you on your path to competent, confident leadership, please reach out to Amy Alvarez, IDOC’s Human Resource Consultant at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your account manager!