Holding to account

What is it?

Agreeing clear performance goals and quality indicators; supporting individuals and teams to take responsibility for results; providing balanced feedback.

Why is it important?

Leaders create clarity about their expectations and what success looks like in order to focus people’s energy, give them the freedom to self-manage within the demands of their job, and deliver improving standards of care and service delivery.

What it is not:

  • Setting unclear targets
  • Tolerating mediocrity
  • Making erratic and changeable demands
  • Giving unbalanced feedback (too much praise or too little)
  • Making excuses for poor or variable performance
  • Reluctance to change


Setting clear expectations:

  • Do I take personal responsibility for my own performance?
  • Do I specify and prioritise what is expected of individuals and the team?
  • Do I make tasks meaningful and link them to organisational goals?
  • Do I make sure individual and team goals are SMART*?
  • *SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timed


Managing and supporting performance:

  • Do I challenge ways of thinking and encourage people to use data to support their business planning and decision making?
  • Do I set clear standards for behaviour as well as for achieving tasks?
  • Do I give balanced feedback and support to improve performance?
  • Do I act quickly to manage poor performance?


Challenging for continuous improvement:

  • Do I constantly look out for opportunities to celebrate and reward high standards?
  • Do I actively link feedback to the overall vision for success?
  • Do I notice and challenge mediocrity, encouraging people to stop drifting and stretch themselves for the best results they can attain?


Creating a mindset for innovative change:

  • Do I encourage a climate of high expectations in which everyone looks for ways for service delivery to be even better?
  • Do I share stories and symbols of success that create pride in achievement?
  • Do I champion a mindset of high ambition for individuals, the team and the organisation?
Click to view the nine dimensions