One of the hardest lessons we all have to learn as we move up the ladder in our organizations, is the idea that we have to be self-accountable. The higher we rise in the ranks and the more responsibility we take on, the less our own supervisors hold us accountable. Of course, as we are given more responsibilities, as more things are thrown on our plate, we have less time to dedicate to each task. How do we manage our projects and still maintain the high level of accountability that we need?
First, take an honest assessment of your responsibilities. This will include items like: current, ongoing, and future products; employees that report to you; and applicable organizational policies. Put together a list of these tasks and duties, and organize them by type and priority.
Second, identify what tasks and responsibilities are truly important and which are superfluous. Always put these tasks in perspective and identify what their purpose is. When in doubt, compare the task to your organizations mission/vision statement and your own department’s goals.
Third, delegate responsibilities as appropriate. It can be hard as we move up the “corporate ladder” to let go of tasks and projects that have always been our baby. More than likely, this is in part caused by our egos; using those tasks and projects to assign our own importance to the company. But, like anything else in life, at a certain time it is right to let go.
Remember, when delegating make sure and insure that you doing this responsibly. Part of your responsibility is knowing your team and identifying which projects are appropriate for them to take charge of.
Finally, put procedures in place that force yourself to be accountable (e.g. organizational). Start with building a checklist of your weekly tasks and then create a list of the projects as they come up, including deadlines. These “to do” lists can be done electronically or by paper. Don’t deny yourself the satisfaction of crossing off tasks as they are accomplished. Every evening before you head home, take five minutes to update your list and move things to tomorrow’s list. Once a week (usually Fridays), do an evaluation of your projects and identify items you may have missed and items you should put to next week.
Self-accountability can be hard, but find the right methods and resources that work for you to stay on track. In the wise words of Larry the Cable Guy, “Git-R-Done.”