Leadership in Action – Holding People Accountable Today


Following last week’s post of building resiliency, what if you follow those four steps to help build the resiliency and people are still not getting things done?  How do we hold them accountable?

While we want to recognize the stress that many of our team members are under, with home schooling and other distractions, it is important that we still Energize Action in our team and hold them accountable.  Too many leaders just let things go so as not to micromanage. However, letting things go is not leadership.

What is Working? Start the coaching session by asking, “What is working?” or “What is going well?” It is important to start with an appreciative inquiry approach. This will establish that there are good things happening that can be leveraged in order to accelerate the momentum.

What is getting in the Way? The second question to ask is, “What is getting in the way?” When your team member identifies the current problems instead of you doing it, this provides for a more open conversation regarding your ideas and suggestions, as you are helping them solve the problems that they have identified.  If you identify the problems, they feel they have to defend their actions and the conversation will move to the defensive quickly.  If they need a nudge to get to the problems, refrain from asking, “Why have you not done X?” Instead, ask “What do we need to do to get back on track with X?”  This question engages them into actions moving forward instead of defending lack of actions prior to the conversation.

Establish a New Pace of work:  Right now, many of the issues that are getting in the way are the distractions of being at home.  Create a new pace to the work. Break the job or project into shorter timelines so that a sense of accomplishment and momentum are established.

Create Forethought: Make sure you finish your conversation by asking them to review their next actions. What are the three things they are going to do next and by when?  This is an important step toward taking the coaching conversation into specific actions with a specific timeline.  Both of you leave the conversation with a clear expectation of what is next.  The final aspect of forethought, in the process, is to be sure to ask them, do they see themselves being able to accomplish everything in the timeline discussed?  This is them committing to the action and therefore taking the accountability.

It is not a good idea to just let things go “until we get back to normal.” Lead your team through this time as we establish a new normal.  Energize Action through a coaching process that has them taking accountability for the current situation and the path forward.