Accountability: The Path to Getting Things Done

By Yolanda Elliott, Master Multiplier Practitioner,
April 10th, 2017


We all want to be Multiplier leaders. But there are times that even when we are legitimately doing our best to lead, those we manage still are not getting the job done.
Throughout my years of working with managers and leaders, I have been presented with the question, “How do you deal with people who do not want to do their work?”

In response, I try to spark curiosity and question asking in the manager, such as:

• Have the goals, expectations and outcomes been stated with enough clarity? And, are people identified and committed to
them? Are they relevant for them?

• Have the roles and projects been assigned to the right people that will deliver the results you are looking for?

• Have the people been mentored and trained thoroughly for the task at hand? Have they received the support and resources they need?

• When they find obstacles or problems, are they asked to bring a proposed solution or do you just “jump in to save the day”?

• Are they expected to deliver a complete project or do they have just a piece of the puzzle to work with?

• Are they allowed to face the natural consequences of failure?

In her book Multipliers®, Liz Wiseman offers the practices of the Investor leader. The Investor is the leader who knows that accountability is key in achieving goals and business results. Thus, they:

• Convey and agree on expectations
• Mentor and train people to be ready to perform at top levels
• Provide the resources and tools people need to do their jobs well
• Trust people with the task at hand, but follow up an assess performance
• Provide feedback and ask questions to guide people
• Hold people accountable for the results

I can relate to this practice from firsthand experience. Under an Investor leader I learned the real value of accountability. What did he do? He asked many questions that guided me to find answers and focus on the important issues. Then he stepped aside, let me do my job, and just asked for the end result so that we could either celebrate or find a way to do it better next time. It was very clear to me that the outcome was my responsibility. No matter the outcome, good or bad, I owned it! Under this leadership, I grew as a professional and became morally responsible for my performance in order to avoid disappointing myself and the leader who had given me his complete trust.

What is your case? How are you as leader contributing to your employee´s ability to perform? Are you an Investor, or do you hold the final responsibility for yourself?

Recently, I was facilitating a Multipliers Workshop at a hotel. As we dug deeper into the Investor´s Practices, at least two of the leaders in the room stated that you can delegate a task but you cannot delegate the responsibility for the outcome. I challenged their assumption by asking, “If you are responsible for the outcome, what did you really delegate?” The answer to that came a few minutes later when we were told as a group that our coffee break was ready. The Food and Beverage leaders had provided the guidelines for the team (the menu, how it should look, the time they wanted it), but then they stepped into the training room with all of us and let them work on it. The team did a superb job preparing the pastries, the beverages, and even setting up and decorating with a theme that included the use of props and the involvement of staff acting a part to impress the group! The outcome was the responsibility of the group, and they owned it!

Can you be the orchestra director and also play all the instruments? You as a leader need to focus on the big picture, that beautiful melody that triggers a standing ovation, but each instrument needs to be played by a chamber musician.

What can you gain from the Investor Practices? 2X the results, and a team who owns them!



Yolanda Elliott is a Master Practitioner for The Wiseman Group and a business owner for EKM Consulting in Costa Rica. She has experience as General Manager for manufacturing and service operations, managing 350 employees at manufacturing facilities. Yolanda understands both the process and the people side of a business. She leads workshops from senior management levels all the way down to supervisors. She started her career with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and, later obtained a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Inter American University in Puerto Rico.

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