To be more effective managers, we cannot change our entire psychological makeup. We are who we are. But we can engage in more effective behaviors, shifts in our behaviors. Arnie was hell bent on accountability. Two managers and five production people lost to turnover, he was finally looking inward.
“As a manager, what can you shift to be more effective?” I asked. “I know you are under a lot of pressure and that you want to maintain a high level of accountability. What can you shift?”
“We are under pressure, and that’s why accountability is so important to me. When one of my team members makes a mistake, it’s a reflection on me,” Arnie explained.
“It’s more than a reflection,” I replied. “As the manager, I hold you accountable for the output of your team. They make a mistake, it’s on you.”
“That’s why I am so hard on them about their mistakes,” he defended.
“I understand, and how has that been working?”
Now, Arnie had to step back. His head was nodding. “You’re right. It seems the harder I press, the more mistakes get made, or the person ends up quitting.”
“Understand, Arnie, that you are under pressure,” I reminded. “And when we are under pressure, we fall into old behavior patterns, comfortable, grooved behaviors, even if they were not successful in the past.”