How to balance autonomy with accountability

Have you ever lifted a rug and seen a bunch of ants scurry out?

One of my CEO clients made a startling discovery like this in her company.

Digging into why the sales team was delivering sub-par results, she found out that, since they worked remotely in different time zones,  they actually weren’t working eight hours a day like the rest of the company. 🤯

The head of sales hadn’t mentioned it, so she had no idea. (And of course, she hadn’t thought to ask: “By the way, your team is working eight hours a day, right?”)

Ever made a discovery like this in your company?

Scary, isn’t it — makes you wonder what else is going on that you don’t know about!

But discoveries like this are inevitable when you’re scaling.

When there are so many things you’re working on and you’re focused on putting out fires.

So there’s a tricky balance.

Try to stay involved in every decision, you’re micro-managing.

Allow your team too much autonomy, you’re out of the loop.

The key? Calibrating how much autonomy you give based on accountability.

To do that, you need to get better information. To get better information, you need to ask better questions.

For example, in your next 1:1, ask: “What’s one thing you’re avoiding doing?”

When you presume that there’s something someone’s avoiding, you make it safer for them to tell you. You show that you’re there to help them find solutions.

They can stop hiding problems under the rug and start taking ownership.

And you’re more confident that you know where the ants are.

P.S. If you’re not getting the results you want from your team, then the smartest thing to do is to find someone who can help you change your approach. If you’re tired of wasting time and energy, book a call and let me help.