Holding People Accountable in a Remote World: A Recognition & Resiliency Perspective
I’ve never been asked this question as much as I have since COVID began. It can have different forms. How do I hold people accountable when we’re all remote? Is it fair to hold someone accountable when they might be struggling? How do I hold someone accountable who has a history of underperformance when we can’t even have these tough conversations in the same room?
I get it. I find it tough to have these conversations anytime, let alone when there are added complications of distance, distractions and disappointment.
But I do. I manage a remote team. The folks I work with now I’d run through fire for (okay, that’s a throwback reference to my high school drama days; I’d drop everything to be there for them and support them). The road to get here has been riddled with underperformance that I had to manage in the remote work, when I or they were stressed, when deadlines loomed (or were missed), when clients were being underserved (or not to our high standards here at Greatness Magnified), or just pain old when I was tired of excuses.
That said, I always start from a place of believing and seeing the other person’s greatness and believing that it’s present. Yes, it can lead to disappointment when I’m proven wrong, but when we have to part ways, at least I always know there’s nothing more I could have done to support him or her. Plus, it may have been good enough then but isn’t as I or the business or our clients evolve, and that is okay, as the only way to go from good to great is to be surrounded by people who have the potential and desire to strive for greatness with you.
The Connection Between Accountability and Motivation
This article was inspired by a speaker friend Mark Black’s IG post and being tagged by another rockstar speaker Michelle Cederberg (see their post link here). I’m curious as to what you think of this quote?
Here was my response:
A major question I am getting lately is how do we hold people accountable in our #remote #covıd world of work? What worries me is that it stems from a belief: if I recognize somebody, they will become complacent and think that there’s nothing to improve.
Here’s how I’d like to flip it. If they don’t know what is working, how will they know what to continue? Appreciation breeds clarity and motivation. How will somebody ever be motivated if they don’t know what is working, where they fit, that what they do matters, and how they fit into the bigger picture? If this is very clear, and there is a lack of performance, with empathy, understanding, curiosity and compassion, our first job is to assist them to be successful. Not to be the judge and jury of their worthiness. If the context and the circumstance are in any way impacting performance, that needs to be understood and taken into account. Not to let people off the hook, but to look for the area where the gaps need to be filled.
All too often we point to the person who is the problem rather than looking at what’s around the individual that doesn’t set them up for success.
The foundation is appreciation. The finesse is feedback.
What do you think? Do you agree?
Here are a few more resources on accountability and having authentic conversations:
- Welcome to Your Tough Conversations Check-up
- How to Communicate Remotely
- The Genuine Human Connection: Authentic Meaningful Conversations