Five Ways to Hold People Accountable

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One of the questions I ask Leadership Teams during our 90-Minute Meeting is, “On a scale of 1 – 10, what kind of accountability exists?”

Most of the Leadership Teams with whom I work rarely report an accountability rating above 3. I even had one team chuckle and tell me they knew how to spell accountability. I find holding someone accountable is one of the key challenges with which leaders and managers struggle.

The good news is there are some very simple ways you can hold your direct reports accountable:

  1. Make sure expectations are clear. If your direct reports are unclear about what you expect of them, and you don’t know what they expect of you, both of you are at a disadvantage.
  2. Be open and honest. No assumptions – know what is on each other’s mind; skilled managers listen more than they talk.
  3. Everyone has at least one realistic number their seat is accountable to achieve. This is the essence of setting expectations and holding people accountable.
  4. Keep track of that number. You have heard it before: what gets measured gets done.
  5. Meet regularly. Meet with your direct reports at least quarterly to ensure you are both on the same page and solve any issues that may be standing in the way of organizational clarity.

Real connections are characterized by when you can be who you truly are, surrounded by people who they truly are. This is the only place you can hold people accountable.

Accountability is one of the fundamental building blocks in EOS®’s Six Key Components™. It makes an appearance through Rocks in the Traction Component™, through Numbers in the Data Component™, and through Delegate and Elevate™.

Gino Wickman’s book, “Traction,” thoroughly explains the role accountability and other principles play in implementing EOS® in your organization. I’d like to offer you chapter one of “Traction” as a free download so you can see for yourself how all the components work together to move your business forward. The first chapter includes the table of content and an introduction as well.

If you have questions about the EOS® process, the Six Key Components™, or how to hold people accountable in your organization, please fill out the form below to request a free, 15-minute phone conversation with me. There is no obligation or pressure to implement EOS® as a result of our call. Our conversation will center on your business’s challenges and strengths, and together we can determine if EOS® is the answer you are looking for.


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