Three Questions to Improve Accountability and Autonomy

Do you want to improve accountability in your organization? Do you find yourself wishing your team was more autonomous? As a leader, you can steer your entire organization toward more accountability and autonomy—and it all starts with asking some simple questions!

To learn more about how leaders can use questions to improve accountability and autonomy, I recently spoke with Jeff Nally on my Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast. Jeff is a coach and leader who uses neuroscience-based solutions to help leaders improve their workplace interactions. On the podcast, he shared his favorite questions for leaders, and broke them down into three categories.

Accountability Questions

Instead of just telling your team what to do, you can encourage autonomy and accountability by asking curious, open-ended questions to spark productive conversations. Rather than making a statement like “finish this task by this afternoon,” consider questions like:

  • Are you finished with this task?
  • How close to completion are you on this task?
  • What do you need to finish this task?

“Feelings” Questions

To improve your organization, don’t be afraid to embrace your feelings! While feelings might not seem like the best fit for the manufacturing floor, talking about feelings and emotions is a great way to foster a stronger sense of accountability and autonomy in your team. Some feeling-based questions include:

  • How do you feel about the work you’re doing?
  • Do you have any apprehensions about this task?
  • Do you have any concerns about this task or your work?

Support Questions

Finally, ask how you can help! Even if you’re working toward a more autonomous team, you still have a valuable role to play as a leader. Check in with your team about their work and their tasks, and let them know you’re still available to guide and support. You can do this by asking questions such as:

  • What do you need to finish this task?
  • What are your goals for this task?
  • What can I do to help you finish this task?

Bonus Questions for Leaders

To improve autonomy and accountability in your organization, there are also some questions you can ask yourself as a leader.

  • What is the “end game” for this project or task?
  • What is my vision?
  • What is my mission?

By asking yourself questions like these, you’ll have a stronger idea of your goals, mission, and vision. Then, you can weave your mission and vision into your everyday behavior and interactions with your team. By communicating the “end game” and mission to your team, you’ll ensure you’re all working toward the same goal, which will increase productivity and promote a greater sense of accountability and autonomy for all.

Learn More on the Podcast

To hear more great insights from Jeff Nally, check out his episode of Mindfulness Manufacturing here.

At Manufacturing Greatness, Trevor Blondeel works with manufacturers to connect the top to the shop floor. If you’re ready to improve your own organization, contact Trevor to learn how Manufacturing Greatness can help you build stronger leaders and develop a dynamic, high-performing workplace.