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How Do You Hold Others Accountable?

December 1, 2022

The other day I talked with a woman who manages a team of social workers in a government agency in Australia. Far from the corporate world, what she said reminded me of the universal challenge of leadership. The question she asked was the same one we hear again and again, from Fortune 100 executives to first-time managers and all levels in between:

“I want people to feel good about working here, but I also need them to deliver results. How do I strike that balance?”

It’s been six years since I wrote Good Authority and launched Refound. And every year, it amazes me that this is still a question.

We’ve created reusable rockets, sequenced the genome, and I can hail a cab from the supercomputer in my pocket. But how do I talk to my employees to get them to change without putting them on the defensive?

Somehow, that’s still a source of confusion and anxiety for so many, to the point where we give up. Or we go the other way, stop caring entirely, and plow ahead, leaving a wake of people in our management dust.

It’s absurd, and it has to stop—

  • That employees don’t know where they stand.
  • That teams are misaligned, wasting precious time and budgets because they don’t know how to talk to one another.
  • That leaders go years without getting honest feedback from their teams.
  • That people feel like their work doesn’t matter because their manager doesn’t know how to give praise in a genuine and meaningful way. It all has to stop.

That’s why I created The Accountability Dial®. And that’s why starting today; we’re giving it away.

We created a free video course that you can easily roll out to your organization to teach them this simple framework for starting, guiding, and finishing a feedback conversation in a direct way that gives people the information they need without being harsh.

It’s what one of my first clients called delivering the kind truth.

It’s a way to talk with people at work that cuts to the heart of the matter.

“I care about you, and it’s my job to tell you when I think there’s something you’re doing that’s holding you back.”

Unless you’re a masochist, nobody wants to hold someone else accountable. You’d rather hold a porcupine.

But there’s a way to do it that doesn’t feel that way. I can’t wait to show you how.

Roll out The Accountability Dial® for free to your managers here:

Accountability Dial® Mini Course

Thanks for being here,


P.S. Elon Musk and Twitter have been in the news a lot lately.  I think Elon is misreading the moment - and there is a lesson in it for all of us as leaders.  Read my recent post on LinkedIn.

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