Accountability Doesn’t Happen by Coincidence Either

Accountability Doesn’t Happen by Coincidence Either

So, did you get to try out some of the accountability tips from last week?

We’ve got Kristin back this week to share the 4 more tips on our delegation checklist – where you assign tasks to your team members and hold them accountable to quality standards and deadlines!

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 1.52.01 PMTake it away, Kristin!

After you’ve had the chance to communicate the purpose of the project/task,  state the mission and core values the task supports, and explain the results you expect there are a couple additional tips you can try!

  • Identify checkpoints

Assign a date for an interim checkpoint or two and enter it into your calendar.   Depending on the person you are delegating to, the checkpoints you identify could be several one-on-one meetings to discuss progress to-date, a formal progress report, or a simple email from the team member describing progress. You might ask for a checkpoint report that covers three topics:

  • Successes and progress
  • Challenges or roadblocks
  • Help needed, if any

Some managers like to state a “no surprises” policy at this point. “No surprises” means that the team member is expected to communicate issues in meeting a deadline well BEFORE the deadline. I always tell my team members, “Bad news early is good news,” meaning, if I know that you can’t meet a deadline well in advance, we can do something about it. Don’t tell me on or after the deadline about problems – then it’s too late to save it.

  • Set a deadline and consequences for not meeting it

Clearly state the deadline for this task and why it is important. “Susie, we are not putting our best foot forward with the lousy copier we have, and it’s not sending the right message to our employees when we expect them to work with unreliable equipment. It’s vitally important that you have a new copier installed by April 15. I’m counting on you to do that, ok?”

The good news is that this process can expand or contract depending on the trustworthiness of the team member. If you are delegating to someone you already trust, you quickly hit on these steps. However, if you are delegating to a new person or a poor performer, you will want to follow this process to the letter. 

Let us know which tips you tried and like best!

And, if you want to learn more about accountability processes, check out Kristin Robertson’s book, Your Company Culture Ecosystem: Growing a Vibrant Business.

Accountability Doesn’t Happen by Accident

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What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “holding your team accountable”.

Probably that phrase causes a number of different thoughts to flood through your mind.

For the next two weeks, we have another one of our great Coaches, Kristin Robertson, sharing about accountability.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 1.52.01 PMTake it away, Kristin!

As a manager, you want your team to perform at peak levels of productivity, excellence, and creativity. And you naturally assume that each member of your team is equally excited about and responsible toward the team’s goals. So you assign people different tasks to do, expecting the best possible outcome.

Then a deadline arrives, and the assigned team member doesn’t produce what you expected – or worse, doesn’t produce anything at all, missing the deadline completely. You naturally blame the team member for being lazy, incompetent, or worse.

Stop. Often, it’s not the employee’s fault for missing the deadline. It could be yours.

Typically, the problem lies in how you assigned the project or task. Did you describe the desired outcome? Did you lay out the steps needed to get there? Did you assign a deadline?

Help is here in the form of a delegation checklist. Let’s start with a few tips now, and then check in on a few more next week!

This is something you can use to assign tasks to your team members and hold them accountable to quality standards and deadlines:

  • Communicate the purpose of the project/task

Describe to your team member the overall purpose or objective of the project. For example, if you’d like Susie to purchase a new copier for the office, you’d say, “Susie, the purpose of this project is to replace the old copier and ensure that the team can make clean, readable, and inexpensive copies on a reliable machine.”

  • State the mission and core values the task supports

Explain how this task supports your goals & objectives and upholds the core values of the organization. It might sound like this, “This will 1) help save time and money, supporting our core value of company growth, and 2) reduce stress on our workers, supporting our core value of taking care of our employees.”

  • Explain the results you expect

Clearly describe the results you expect. What are your criteria for successful completion of this project? How will you measure the results and what metrics do you expect to achieve? In our copier purchase example, you might say, “Susie, I need better-looking copies, a reliable and easy-to-use machine, and the cost over 5 years should be less than what we pay now.”

In this step, be sure to use follow-up questions to ensure understanding. You might ask, “Susie, how would you state the problem we’re trying to solve and the success criteria for this project?”

So, try these out and let us know what works for you!

The Art of Scaling Questions

PROGRESS!

It’s been quite a journey of delegation! We looked at a number of reasons why we don’t delegate. And, we addressed what we will do after we delegate, overcoming the fears of imperfection, and what to do when we feel like we don’t have time to delegate.

Last week we explored the strategy on how to increase what we do by 10x or over 100%. So, did you think about what it is you want to increase?

Sometimes, when there is a goal we want to reach it is difficult to know the steps needed to get there.

Tze Meng ChinTze Meng Chin, a leadership and development Coach, suggested using “progressive delegation” and “scaling questions” to work up to the desired goal.

To start with scaling questions, imagine a scale from 0- 10, 10 being where you are a delegating rockstar. Identify where you currently are on the scale.

Got your number? Ok – now answer these questions:

  • What did you do to get from 0 to where you are at now?
  • What have you done that has worked well?
  • Where do you want to get to?
  • What does reaching that goal mean or look like to you?
  • What is one small step you can take that will bring you closer to your goal?

Using these questions gives you a clear look at where you are starting, where you have come from, and gives you some manageable ideas on steps that you can take to achieve your goal.

This week, let’s think about where we want to increase by 10X using the scaling questions above!

I Just Don’t Have Time!

Even if you are not usually a list-loving person, the chances are, with all that’s on your plate – you have lots of lists.

And, adding something – anything – to that list just makes it feel even more impossible to get everything done.

When we heard from Lisa Harper, an executive Coach for over 20 years, she said that one reason we don’t delegate is because, “we feel we don’t have time to explain the project or task and we think it’s easier to just do it ourselves, not thinking about the long term impact this can have”.

Ringing a (rather loud) bell?

Here’s what she suggests:

Lisa HarperConsider the long term benefits of delegation versus the small amount of time invested to delegate a task.  Is it more productive to spend a little time now teaching someone else how to do something or continue to do it yourself?

Understand that one of the key responsibilities for managers is the building of their talent bench. Your employees deserve work that challenges and stretches their capabilities.  Delegating interesting projects and tasks is a way to do that.  

Remember that a lack of delegation can translate into unmotivated employees resulting in turnover which is expensive and even more time-consuming.

Many of my clients tell me their manager wants them to be more strategic.  Use this time to focus on the higher level goals of your business, team or work group.”

Wow! Thanks, Lisa!

Take a look at the week ahead and all you have to accomplish.

Even though finding the time to train someone on the new task may seem impossible, consider Lisa’s suggestions above and think about the long-term benefits of you delegating a task next week!

Do You Really Want to Delegate?

Ok – let’s take a step back for a moment.

We’ve been talking about delegation for a couple of weeks now. There have been different tips on how to delegate and different insights on why we don’t delegate.

I think it’s time we ask ourselves a different question… do you actually want to delegate?

Let’s not just take the easy answer and say, “Yes, of course I do. All great managers delegate”.

Tze Meng ChinTze Meng Chin, a leadership and development Coach located in Singapore, said a couple of weeks ago that one of the reasons we don’t delegate is “perhaps an unwillingness or lack of know-how”. He went on to elaborate that, “there has to be a willingness or motivation or compelling need to want to delegate.”

We know great managers delegate but sometimes it feels easier to stay “safe” in our busy work box and not delegate. If that is the case, all the knowledge won’t help us.

Chances are, if we aren’t delegating then we are probably overworked and a little (or a lot) stressed. This will affect our quality of work, our attitude, and the attitude of our team.

Let’s be real this week and think about if we actually want to delegate.

Knowing exactly where we are in this journey is key to knowing where we need to go.

(Im) Perfect

I know, I know… just the title makes you cringe.

And, if I’m honest, it makes me cringe too. You mean something may not be perfect? Not on my watch!

What have you done to make sure that it is true? Everything. Literally… everything.

And, how do you feel? Overworked. Stressed. Exhausted. The list goes on.

We heard from Trish Brooks, a couple of weeks ago about the concept that “we don’t delegate because of a fear that the employee may not meet our (sometimes perfectionist) standards.”

So, Trish, how would you recommend working past this fear?

First, connect with a time when you were given the responsibility for a project that was slightly over your head.

Think about how great the learning was, how engaged you were, how grateful you were for the trust of your boss.

Remember that you were successful!

Are you willing to give that same gift to your employees?

Your role as a people leader is to lead the people first (not the product – the product work will be good if you lead the people).

Developing people is a huge part of your role; one of the most important parts!

Take a moment to let those last two lines sink in… maybe even read them one more time.

When we think about delegating a task in terms of giving the gift of developing the people around us, it creates different perspective.

Choose one direct report who you would like to begin (or continue!) developing.

Now, look at your workload and choose one task that you can [deep breath] delegate to that person.

But, What Will I Do?

You have your (long) list of tasks that needs to get done this week. Yet, in reality, you know you can’t do it all (and, well, sleep at some point too). Then again- if you delegate what is left for you to do?

Last week we heard from Jennifer Jones that one of the reasons we don’t delegate is because we wonder what our job will become if we “give away” all the tasks we are doing.

Here’s her advice on how to work past “what you will do”.

Jennifer Jones “The technique is to determine what you will “do” instead.

Explore the role of leader and manager.

See that, in addition to “doing,” there are many important things for leaders to engage in (vision, strategy, inspiration, motivation, training a successor, etc.).

It’s also important to have the perspective that it’s the leader’s job to develop the skills of their people through delegating with guidance.

Thanks, Jennifer!

As a manager, your job is so much more than simply checking off tasks on a to do list.

So, here’s this week’s challenge:

1. Choose one task you can delegate… and do it!

2. Then, in your newly found time, start thinking about what the purpose of your team is.

Why Don’t We Delegate?

So, how did delegating the task go this week? Did you do it?

Or – did you think about delegating and then for some reason decide not to?

We all know we could delegate better, but many times we don’t know why we are not.

We asked four expert Coaches from Singapore, Canada, and the United States to summarize in one sentence why we don’t delegate.

Before we hear their responses- let’s meet each Coach!

Comparison Coach Bios

So, y’all… Why don’t we delegate?

Jennifer JonesJennifer:  If I delegate my duties to my team, what will I do; how will I add value and contribute?

 

 

 

Trish BrooksTrish:  Often people don’t delegate because they are afraid of the risk of the outcome if the employee doesn’t meet their (sometimes perfectionist) standards.

 

 

Lisa:Lisa Harper They feel they don’t have time to explain the project or task and they think it’s easier to just do it themselves, not thinking about the long term impact this can have.

 

 

Tze Meng ChinTze Meng: It is challenging to answer this question in ONE sentence. To generalize, perhaps its unwillingness or lack of know-how. The former is more challenging.

 

 

 

Does one of the above reasons strike a chord with you? Or maybe it sparks another thought on why you are not delegating as often as you can be.

Knowing reasons why we don’t do something is a great starting point.

In the coming weeks, we will be going a more in depth about what we can do to combat the reasons above.

Until then, try the exercise we did! Write down one reason that may be holding you back in delegating.

 

It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3…

You can’t get everything done that you need to and you have a team for a reason- so, you delegate.

We’ve all heard the word…we all know what it means.

So, how do you do it? It’s easy as 1, 2, 3:

Step 1. Decide what you will delegate.

Look at all the work you have and separate out the tasks that only you can do with the tasks that others can do as well.

Step 2. Determine clear expectations and tangible results.

Sit down with your direct report and explain what they will be doing and your expectations for how the task gets done and when it is to be competed by.

Step 3. Monitor results.

Schedule a follow-up meeting to ensure the task has been completed, review how completing the task went, and answer any questions.

It’s that easy, right? … YEAH, RIGHT!!

If delegation really was as easy as A, B, C – we would all be doing it flawlessly. And, there would be no reason for hundreds of books, articles, and trainings on the art of delegation.

Over the next weeks we will be digging through what holds us back from delegating and what we can do to overcome those things.

Between now and then- think about one task you can delegate. And, try it!

Find Your Conversations

 

lostandfound

There is so much to get done today. And, in the middle of your rushed morning where the line for coffee was too long, you just remembered that project you needed to finish by the end of the week (yikes!) and there is that lingering feeling that you should debrief with your direct report about her presentation to the Executive team and her career goals with her recent promotion.

With two very different topics to cover and a time crunch – how do you not lose the conversation?

We asked three expert Coaches, with over 50 years of combined experience coaching Middle Managers and Executives what their most effective strategies are on how to have more meaningful and effective conversations with direct reports. Let’s meet these Coaches and see what they have to say!

Coaches

Now, for the good stuff!

Mary

 Mary: So, what is a “meaningful “conversation? I believe that a meaningful conversation will differ from one person to another, depending upon their situation, values, and perspective on the issue or opportunity. What is common is that a meaningful conversation creates a feeling of being heard and respected, motivates the person to take action (which might be a new and/or courageous activity), acknowledges and reinforces values, and overall results in a feeling of fulfillment and energy. This is a “two-way conversation” where both parties contribute, listen, and co-create what needs to happen.

Scott

Scott: One comment related to effective communication techniques is the importance of first being clear in your own mind and then articulating to the recipient the purpose of the communication, e.g. is the intention of the communication to positively reinforce desirable behavior or is it to provide constructive feedback to modify/improve undesirable behavior? It is critical that those two different types of messages not be combined during the same conversation because it diminishes the impact in both directions, diluting the motivational benefits of positive feedback and undermining the importance of required behavior change. Further, it puts at risk the perception of others regarding your managerial courage and your ability to have difficult conversations when required.

Karen

Karen: I have often recommended that the Managers ensure that they schedule 1:1’s with each member of their team to talk about their career interests and personal drivers/motivation (i.e., what’s important to them personally). Sometimes Managers make assumptions without taking the time to have a more meaningful conversation with each person. This process also helps to build the direct report’s trust with the Manager.

To prepare for the conversation, I will sometimes suggest that Managers track their time for a week or two. This helps them to gain a clearer understanding of how they spend their time – and thus, consider what they might be able to delegate to members of their team.

Mary

Mary: A strategy that Managers find effective is to use open-ended questions in their conversations that begin with “What” or “How” rather than with “Why“. What is the difference? The “Why” question causes people to analyze, explain and defend their position because the “rational left brain” has been engaged. Questions that begin with “What” or “How” engage the right brain and enable people to consider broader and more creative possibilities as well as the bigger picture. From here there is a greater willingness to explore what is needed going forward rather than defend a current position.

Thanks for your insights on conversations Mary, Scott, and Karen!

So, how do you find your conversation today?