Ask the expert: Using accountability language to get what you need

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, August 28, 2009

This week, Eileen Lavin Dohmann, RN, MBA, NEA-BC, discusses how to use accountability language in a conversation with a manager.

Q: I am holding a long series of educational sessions and frequently attendees are late. They say the problem is their manager does not make it a priority for them to attend the sessions, so they have trouble getting away from the unit. How should I approach the manager?

A: Accountability language can be used in any situation where you need to hold someone accountable. In this situation, you want to hold the manager accountable for letting staff members leave the unit on time. Here's how the conversation might go:

Engage the manager in conversation and share your concerns. The manager agrees with you, noting that recently this seems to be an increasing problem. She tells you she intends to address it at next week's staff meeting. You are concerned that this will not be enough to change the problem. You can ask (make a request) the manager how she will measure the improvement in the behavior. If she does not suggest (offer) anything to be measured, you can suggest (make an offer) that she monitor staff members to ensure they leave on time for four weeks. If there is no improvement, you can suggest (make a request) that something else be done. If the manager says "no" to any of your requests, modify your requests so that she can say "yes."

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