By Howard Stanten MPT,CPCC
Many leaders struggle with holding the members of their team accountable. Once the hard truth in step one is addressed, the next steps come much easier.
1) LOOK IN THE MIRROR to identify the one person whose lack of accountability is having the most negative impact. Make good eye contact. The person looking back at you needs a good dose of personal responsibility.
There is something for which you are responsible, able to respond to, that you are avoiding or ignoring. Have you found yourself blaming and complaining lately? How’s it working? That gnawing in your gut, knot in your throat, and flush in your face are all signaling that YOU can and must RESPOND!
So, listen to what your body is telling you and move on to step two.
2) MAKE A DISTINCTION between reactive behavior that is challenging your expectations and proactive behavior that is supporting your expectations. Reactive behavior might have you feeling like a babysitter taking care of kids from hell who repeatedly spit in your face. Proactive behavior should have you feeling like a teacher or coach eager to work with someone that has great potential. Take a moment to look for and digest the distinction. Gauge how you are feeling. Your response to each needs to be markedly different to be effective.
After making this distinction, it’s time to lead.
3) DO LEAD, DON’T BABYSIT. The team member who is repeatedly late needs to be put on a fast track behavior improvement plan and let go quickly if this doesn’t work. IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW VALUABLE THIS PERSON IS IN OTHER AREAS! Would you keep this same “valuable” person around if they repeatedly spit in your face? Think about it. There’s not much difference. That’s why you’re feeling the way you do by keeping them around.
The team member that is overly eager to implement a new workflow policy improving efficiency in her department while creating a bottleneck somewhere else deserves a different response. Help her to see what she didn’t. Praise her proactive alignment with the mission. Grow a leader. Don’t let her “mistake” cause you to squash the very qualities you want your people to develop.
After you’ve chosen leadership over babysitting, check your ego.
4) MAKE IT ABOUT THE MESSAGE NOT THE MESSENGER. Be about the vision and mission not your frustrated, angry, offended ego. It’s fine to say you’re frustrated, just don’t BE FRUSTRATED. Don’t let the accountability conversation get diluted by becoming about your attitude. Ground the conversation in why the accountability you are expecting is important to the organization. Those that care, will raise their accountability game. Those that don’t, won’t. Rebuild your team around those that care.
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Howard Stanten MPT,CPCC is an Executive Leadership and Professional