Asked and Answered: Accountability and Feedback Exercises

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Asked: I am looking for different training activities regarding a manager's approach to holding employees accountable for completing work goals and appropriate ways to provide that feedback. Any resources you can offer would be helpful! This is for a group of overachievers so the content must be direct, to the point and useful for an hour session.

Answered: Here are just a couple of activities you may consider.


Define Accountability – Many people operate from different views of what “good” looks like.  The group can do some small group chart work and list words and behaviors that define this. 

Create a Behavioral Checklist – From this, perhaps a behavioral checklist can be made of what “good” should be so that everyone can be held to the same standards and when falling short there is a good resource to point to as each manager  gives effective feedback.  This is a longer activity, but perhaps it stretches to a couple of sessions where people get to review the product and bring feedback to another session.


How to make feedback behavioral – Give a small group of people adjectives that describe their behaviors (withdrawn, aggressive, calm, elated…).  They should not show these to anyone and will then be asked to have a conversation or else play a game where they keep these roles.  Everyone else will observe the interaction and take notes about what they think each label is while trying to list what they see.  During the debrief , as observers go through their lists and give the words they use to describe each person, they will decide it they are inferences or behavioral statements.  For example, the aggressive person may be described as “mad” or “angry,” but both of those are inferences. The challenge is then to describe the behaviors that they see.  This is a way to ensure that, when giving feedback, it is the behavior and not our inference that we deal with.

Triad practice – Give people time to practice the skills of feedback (assuming you have a model).  Have the group list out the common items that managers often have to give feedback on and then have people practice.  One person is an observer and then gives feedback on how things went and what could be done better (another opportunity to practice giving feedback).

Scott Enebo is a training consultant with The Bob Pike Group.

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