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It’s great to inspire people to do their best. But over time, buoyant feelings can fade. That’s when inspiration needs to be backed up by a guiding hand — yours. Here’s how to do it without being a criticizing meanie.

“It’s good to be the king,” says a character in the hilarious Mel Brooks movie, The History of the World: Part 1.

If you manage people, it may be tempting to exercise your power as divine-right monarch when things don’t turn out as expected. “Off with their heads,” you may be tempted to command.

Well, not literally of course. But if you’ve ever ”gotten your head handed to you,” you know how devastating criticism can be. It’s a message saying you’ve failed to deliver as expected.

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If you’re the one responsible for performance, and your team is coming up short, you’re the leader who has to get things back on track.

That’s why meetings are so important. They make it less likely you’ll need to exercise your awesome power as imperial ruler. And ClickMeeting is the easiest, most convenient way to hold meetings. (Come on, you knew there would be a commercial, didn’t you?)

OK, the commercial is over. Let’s talk about how to use meetings to create accountability, so things get done!

Why

Start by defining the reasons behind the tasks. The “why” is the emotional fuel that that drives your team toward success. People are more likely to follow through if they understand and accept the reasons why it’s important.

What

Your team can get discouraged if you pump them up without being specific about what needs to get done.  Use the whiteboard or shared document to interactively create a detailed action list.

Who

A team doesn’t get things done — people do. So divide your action list into chunks and assign tasks to specific individuals. Ideally, it’s nice to have volunteers, but if no hands go up, it’s your duty (as all-powerful monarch) to make assignments, even if some of the tasks aren’t much fun.

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Make sure each person has the resources to complete the task. Maybe he or she has a large task that requires several galley slaves willing volunteers. And if the task requires money, be specific about budgets.

When

There’s a saying, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Sometimes it’s easy to get people excited about a project. But when they get back to the daily grind, they may neglect the important by responding only to the urgent. A deadline (with reminders) helps keep the team focused on their commitments.

Where

This is the follow-up step. Will you hold another meeting to monitor progress or collect completed assignments? Or should they come to you when they finish? Maybe one team member can be assigned to coordinate this step.

Document

Assign a team member to put the assignments in writing and make sure each team member gets a copy. This adds peer pressure, which can be even more powerful than kingly (or queenly) authority.

Your turn

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Why do accountability meetings work? People are hardwired for consistency. If they accept an assignment and commit to a deadline, they’re more likely to get it done. And if they fall short, they can be the harshest judges of themselves.

And so, as queen of all ClickMeeting, I command you to use meetings to make your team accountable. And if they neglect their duty, off with their heads! Well, maybe no cake on Friday.

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Posted by Sylwia Futrzyńska

Sylwia is the Brand Manager at ClickMeeting.