Does this conversation seem familiar?

You:     “Am I seeing these metrics correctly? They are way off what they should be.”

Them: “Yes. They are correct.”

You:     “What’s going on in the store? Is the team just not logging their results?”

Them   “They just don’t do it. I can’t get them to do what I want them to do.”

You:     “But you are in charge, correct? Hold them accountable and if they continue to choose not to follow your direction, you may have to let them go.”

Them: “I can’t fire them. They are good salespeople.”

You:     “But they are not doing what you need. It is affecting your results and how you make other decisions.”

Them:  “I know.”

You:     “Then hold them accountable.”

Them:  “They won’t listen.”

You:     “Then let them go.”

Them.  “But I can’t fire them.”

You can only go so long writing this conversation off–at some point, you need to avoid the frustration, money lost, and wasted time by addressing the situation directly.

Accountability is not a simple fix. It can be difficult for managers to enforce, especially if other aspects of their team are unbalanced. Documented Process, People, and Training, along with Accountability, are the 4 Pillars of Success. If one is not being maintained, your full potential as a business will never be realized.

Too often, leaders of teams have not been trained to understand this. Failing to follow the processes put in place to lead to success is a colossal miscue made by too many team leaders.

Let’s examine this scenario.

We have a team member who produces our end result, in this case a certain number of sales, each month. They are praised for the end result yet they don’t follow policy, thus wasting opportunities and causing excess work for others. Others, who sell less, are held to a strict standard of compliance to policy.

These employees see the hypocrisy of the leader’s actions. They beg the salesperson to comply yet is ignored. So each day, this leader battles to keep the peace, having to explain why one person does not have to follow the rules while all others must.

Secondly, this manager is not effectively managing their marketing efforts because these skewed results will never allow them to see what is working correctly or not. Now the waste includes monetary value as well as time.

What this leader is also missing is the growing apathy within the team. Willingness to put in the extra effort is dwindling. It may not be apparent up front but if you take a close look, you see the team just doing enough to get by. Results seem a little off but the manager blames it on outside forces.

While there will always be variables you can’t control, the issue at hand can almost always be traced back to leadership’s commitment to accountability.

Taking a hard-handed stance on compliance can cause a short-term loss in production, which is what keeps ineffective leaders from doing their job. While this is true, they may be able to avoid the loss if they handle it correctly. Take the time to explain why it is important to the team for them to comply. If the problem persists, the employee causing the trouble must be removed from the team.

The long-term positives that come from holding your team accountable outweigh the short-term consequences. Others may be inspired to do more now that favoritism is no longer a factor. Additionally, adding a new member to the team should result in compliance from the start because they don’t know anything different.

Being a leader is not easy. Accountability is the glue that hold your success together. Trying to lead without the right skills is nearly impossible.

If you are looking to increase your leadership skills, join me for a 2 day workshop July 24th and July 25th  called, “You Got the Job, Now What. Building the Skills to Lead High Performing Team”.

Click here to sign up.

Glenn Pasch

Glenn Pasch is a Partner and CEO of PCG Digital. Glenn continues to author articles for multiple industry publications, blogs and forums as well as continuing his writing online at www.glennpasch.com.