Nurturing Accountability Through Connection

As entrepreneurs, we start our companies to execute an idea, provide a better product, or deliver a superior service. Rarely, can we do it alone. Which means, we need to hire and work with employees. And, with those employees, we form relationships. It's those relationships where things get sticky. We often struggle to hold the employees accountable, we become resentful towards them because they "don’t think like an entrepreneur," and we allow the relationships to cloud our thinking–both good and bad.

But let's face it, our primary responsibility is to take care of the business. After all, if we don't prioritize the health of our cash flow, culture, and quality, what's the point of it all?

While I'm a big advocate for fostering intentional connections with our teams, ensuring they feel seen, heard, known, and accepted, we must acknowledge the delicate balance required to maintain connection and accountability simultaneously.

It's crucial not to wait until issues arise to hold someone accountable effectively. If we do not deal with lack of accountability, we will create and a allow an environment of artificial harmony permiate the organization. Instead, set clear expectations from the get-go. Walk your team through your company values, code of conduct, and rules of engagement upfront.

On a company-wide level, reinforce these standards during weekly meetings, quarterly all-hands, and annual summits. We must communicate, consistently. Every system, process, and output we create should align with these core principles. And remember, lead by example—it's the most powerful form of leadership.

Establish internal feedback loops for several reasons: to normalize receiving positive and constructive feedback, understand each team member's perspective comprehensively, and identify patterns and trends early on.

While giving feedback isn't always comfortable for either you, the leader, or the employee, it's essential for maintaining accountability. By addressing issues promptly and consistently, we prevent surprises down the road and create a fair and transparent environment for all.

Now, let's talk about the tough stuff. Letting go of underperforming team members is never easy, especially when we've developed personal connections with them. However, prolonging these tough conversations ultimately harms the entire company. It's our responsibility to ensure that everyone on the team is pulling their weight and living up to the company's expectations. Remember, most people who get fired have earned it due to performance or attitude issues. It is not the responsibility of the leader to carry the guilt of removing someone from the organization who has earned it.

But here's the kicker—I'm not suggesting we distance ourselves or shy away from fostering connection. Accountability can coexist with warmth and empathy. Take the time to build genuine relationships with your team members, demonstrating that you care about their well-being as much as their performance.

By fostering a culture of accountability rooted in clear communication, leading by example, providing support, and cultivating connection, we can create an environment where everyone thrives and excels.

Here's to building a team of accountable, empowered individuals who are committed to excellence and driven by a shared sense of purpose.

From Suck to Success

In From Suck to Success, Todd uses his own experience in professional purgatory to propel your business upward by embracing Massive Curiosity coupled with Massive Accountability.

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