Who to Hold Accountable?

“You are not a manager so people can report to you,” I announced. The class stood still. “You are a manager to bring value to the problem solving and decision making of your team.”

Slowly, a hand went up in the back of the room. “But how will they know who to report to?” A murmur of chuckles circulated.

“Look,” I started. “When you have a new employee, you think the most important question is, who are they going to report to? That is not the central question. The central question is, which manager will be accountable for their output?”

“Accountable?” came the question from the back of the room.

“I know it’s a foreign concept,” I smiled. “Yes, a manager is that person in the organization held accountable for the output of other people.”

“But if my team member screws up, it’s not my fault?” the back of the room voice defended.

I shook my head. “It’s not a matter of fault. I hold you, as the manager, accountable for the output of your team members. Most organizations get this wrong and that is where the trouble starts.”

One thought on “Who to Hold Accountable?

  1. Ed Burke

    The manager is accountable for the results of the team member, I totally get this and agree …. what about the case where I have a CEO who is in charge of the Product Roadmap and new product development, he uses engineering resources for this. How does the accountability work here?


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