Accountability – What is the root of the problem?

Holding your team accountable is not easy. In fact, of all the activities I see when I am coaching and running peer-advisory boards, this is the area that entrepreneurs and business owners like the least. And I get it. You run a business for freedom – the chances are you may not have ever had someone hold you accountable, or at least in a good way. So, what’s the secret? It comes down to addressing the correct issue.

We’ve covered setting quarterly goals on this blog, and exactly how you start the accountability process. What I am addressing here is how to hold a team member accountable when you are not getting a result you are looking for.

By the time you know you have to address a situation there are a number of things that have actually happened, and before you start the process you need to un-package this. Once un-packaged, we can address it, but only when we know what we want.

Part 1 – Unpacking

There are three things that may have happened, and we need to look at each one to see where YOUR problem lies with the team member.

-       Content – You may be upset by the content of what they did (or, did not do). This seems natural, but I would like to suggest that you are rational, intelligent leader, and if this was a once off, you would not be feeling frustrated. 

-       Pattern – Maybe it’s not actually the content that is having you feel this way. Maybe it is that this is not the first time… maybe it is the third or fourth… so you are now concerned about the pattern. Can you trust this person to deliver in the future? If this pattern continues, what fall-out will occur?

-       Relationship – Thirdly, maybe the pattern has affected you and now you are concerned about the relationship between the two of you. Is this problem because they are misusing your trust in them, or maybe you think they are taking advantage in some way.

It’s important that we look at the underlying reason for YOUR problem with the team member. If you don’t do this, you may be spending time in areas that will not solve the problem.

Part 2 – What do you Really Want?

I know, you want to stop the problem, but before we start that conversation, let’s look at three specific wants:

-       You – what do you want at the end of this accountability session, and what don’t you want to happen?

-       Them - what do you want them to do (or stop doing) at the end of this accountability session, and what don’t you want them to do/stop?

-       Both of you – How do you want your relationship to be after this accountability session, and what do you not want to happen?

Armed with this information, you are ready to have the accountability session. And more on that next time!

Want more great tips on how to lead the best team? Download our free whitepaper: 9 Tips for Motivating your Team - How to Effectively use Incentives to Motivate Employees

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