Would you fire your child if they underperformed at work?

Posted on: 22/02/2019

Accountability at work


In my job, I meet a lot of senior executives and it surprises me that many don’t address negative issues as head on as you might imagine.

I think a large part of this is to do with accountability.

Simon Sinek summed it up for me, when he said, “would you fire one of your children, if they came home from school with a C grade?!”

Well, of course you wouldn’t. You would support them and help them to do better.

So why is it at work when one of your top performers suddenly starts to have a bad quarter that we immediately go to performance management? When all they probably need is some reassurance and support.

Many leaders use accountability as a draconian way of managing people, it suggests that you can blame others for not doing what they should. When in reality leaders should hold themselves accountable in the chain of events that have led to things not going as planned.

Personally, I prefer the word responsibility, which comes from the heart and suggests a more shared way of thinking.

Some tips to think about:

  • Remember that leadership is about nurturing those who work for you and can often mean taking the blame for things that aren’t entirely your fault.
  • Stop making excuses, set clear expectations and direction for your teams.
  • Embrace mistakes and coach people (rather than blame them!).
  • Communicate problems when they happen, don’t store them up for the future when things become bigger than they really are.

To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

Hiring an Interim Executive? You need to get it right! Discover the 8 step process you should follow, by downloading our free eBook here.