From the Ask Tom mailbag -
I very much enjoy your blog and always find improvement opportunities within your messages. As you point out rather frequently, holding the right people accoutable is crucial. In that regard, I would like to ask, what different ways have you found effective in “holding people accountable” beyond expressing your dissatisfaction with their performance, formal performance improvement requirments (PIP) or replacing them? I would like to know what tools/techniques you recommend and believe most effective.
Here is my short list -
- Raising my voice.
- Repeated criticism.
- Frequent complaining.
- Public flogging.
The person who believes these methods effective is someone who has no children. None of these work. I spent several hours with one of my executive groups on this very issue and at the end of the day, here was our conclusion. The only person who can truly hold me accountable is me. All other forms of harassment are largely ineffective. Self-accountability is the only path.
Yet, we still say that we have to hold someone accountable. My definition of a manager is that person held accountable for the output of their team. So I say it, too.
So, here’s a better list of conditions required for self-accountability.
- Make the expectation (of output) clear.
- Ensure the availability of required resources.
- Validate the required skills and sufficient practice for the task.
- Match the persons capability with the capability required for the task (measured in time span).
- Ensure the person places a high value on the work (interest or passion for the work).
- Ensure the person engages in reasonable behaviors required to complete the task.
If we still observe underperformance or misbehavior, we have to make a judgment as to the cause. Then we have to make a judgment if this cause can be corrected.