S01 Episode 05: How Employee Accountability Fosters Entrepreneurial Self-Care
Many of the women that I work with struggle when it comes to holding team members accountable. But the truth is that accountability is one of the greatest forms of self-care that you can create for yourself as a business owner—even when it’s difficult. When you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not taking care of your business. Period.
In this week’s episode of the Leadership is Feminine podcast, we’re digging deep into the archives of my old podcast, How to Lead for Female Entrepreneurs, to bring you a relevant and timely episode that we thought worthy of another listen, given our theme of Leadership as Self-Care.
Let’s re-imagine what it means to hold others accountable, thus treating ourselves to more of the self-care that we deserve as women, business owners, and human beings.
What you’ll find in this episode:
- What ‘accountability’ really is and when it can actually be a positive thing.
- How a lack of accountability can lead to mental and physical exhaustion.
- A client story that demonstrates the relationship between accountability and self-care.
- The importance of creating clear expectations for your employees and showing them how to win.
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Hello, beautiful ones. Does the voice sound a little different today? Well, don’t worry, you’re in the right place. This is Michelle director of operations with Kris Plachy Coaching Group intro-ing this episode of the podcast this week. As you know, as a CEO, life happens sometimes and you need to depend on your high performing team to step in and make sure things run smoothly. So when Kris got stuck in Hawaii after an amazing retreat this past week, her team stepped up and is bringing you an episode from the archives that we think is relevant and timely and worth another. Listen. So in this one, Kris talks with us about the relationship between employee accountability and entrepreneurial self care, so we hope you’ll enjoy.
Hey everyone, I’m Kris Plachy and this is How to Lead for female entrepreneurs and founders because the best way to grow a business is to grow the person who’s running it. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Hello, hello, hello. Hello, hello, hello. How are you? Welcome. Today, we’re going to talk about self care, but we’re talking about it in a way that maybe might shock you, but I want to talk to you today about how accountability and self-care are totally related and actually almost required in order for you to feel really good. We have to be really good at our accountability practices with our team members. And a lot of the women that I coach, and in fact a lot of the listeners that I know tune into this podcast, right, this is one of the core areas that we struggle with is accountability. If you are a listener of the podcast you know that I’ve recorded quite a few podcasts about accountability and I have a lot more to say, so there will be many more to come.
But I want to talk to you very specifically about how accountability really is one of the greatest forms of self care you can set up for yourself as a business leader, as business owner. Even though I know that initially when we set up accountability practices and systems within our business, it feels really difficult for ourselves, for us to do for ourselves and then for us to communicate to others and go through the process. But let’s talk about what accountability means. Accountability is, I’ve always defined it as your ability to account, or can you account for someone’s ability. That’s what we’re doing. We tend to think of accountability as a negative, like I’m going to hold you accountable. Then I think for a lot of entrepreneurs, we tend to think of accountability as kind of a corporate thing, it’s very corporate-y. But all we’re really talking about when we’re talking about accountability is have I been clear about what I expect? Have I asked you to do something? Have you either by nature of the position that you’re in or by a project that you’re working on or something that I’ve asked you to do and have you followed through? Did you meet your commitment? At the end of that, we need to have some sort of accountability to the outcome.
A lot of times accountability is really positive. It’s recognition, it’s acknowledging, it’s congratulating, it’s thanking, it’s recognizing that somebody did it well. It’s not always that people failed and now you have to hold them accountable, which sounds so terrible. Who wants to ever do that? But it is part of your responsibility as somebody who runs her own business, really thinking about what is my relationship with accountability and how after this podcast can accountability really improve how I manage my own self care?
Here’s why when we don’t have accountability we are really not taking care of ourselves. The reason why this is so important, remember is that if, when we’re not taking care of ourselves, we are not helping the business. You and your success is so intermingled into the business success, your health, your mental health, your focus, your clarity, how well you manage and take care of yourself really shows up in your business.
So when we aren’t holding people accountable, here’s a typical day, for people who don’t have clean accountability systems. People are doing whatever they want, people are not delivering in the way that you want them to. You are doing their job, you are doing work that someone else should be doing, because it’s just too exhausting for you to figure out how to talk to them and tell them they didn’t do it right or to even get them to do it. You are avoiding certain conversations with people on your team because you’re uncomfortable because you don’t know how to address the fact that they didn’t get it done.
You are feeling the stress that that is unnecessary because you’ve hired people to do work that you shouldn’t be doing but now you’re doing that work plus your other job. So you’re feeling even more stressed out and that doesn’t have anything, this doesn’t even include like all the mind drama you have going on, because you’re mad that people aren’t doing what they should be doing and you’re frustrated with them because they didn’t do what you asked them to do, and you’re annoyed that why can’t they just read your mind? Why is this so complicated? Why can’t people just figure this out? Why does this have to be so hard and is it always going to have to be this way? Am I always just going to have to be the one who does everything? Is this anything like your inner monologue?
So when you’re busy doing all of that in your brain, and then of course actually doing the work and working extra time and compensating for people’s inefficiencies or inadequacies because they’re not giving you what you want, that is not the definition of self care. That is mental exhaustion and physical exhaustion because you’re working too hard and too much on things that you are now paying somebody else to do. So not only are you paying somebody else to do something, you’re now paying yourself to do something, so you just paid double for whatever that thing is that you just had somebody not do because you thought you could do it better. Tell me I’m wrong. I know you know I’m right.
So how has self care connected to accountability? Well, I’m going to give you an example. I was working with a client a couple of months ago. When we first got on the phone, she was really, really frustrated because she had one employee in particular who was just not doing the job the way that they want the job done. As a result, this employee was very frustrated because she believed she didn’t have clear direction, so she was trying to make up things to do, even though in the business owner’s mind she knew exactly what she wanted this employee to be doing, but there was such a gap in their communication. The person who was really suffering well, frankly, they both were suffering, but the owner was really suffering because she was entertaining thoughts like, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to run a business anymore. If it’s going to be this complicated and if I’m always going to have to end up doing the work, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to manage people. I just want people to do their job. Why is it so difficult?”
When we sort of diagnosed, what was going on, the truth was my client was indulging this employee in a lot of ways who was getting distracted by certain parts of her work that were unnecessary, she was not doing certain parts of her work that were essential to the job, and then she would come into her meetings with my client and kind of complain about why her job was so unsatisfying. All the while my client was sitting there really frustrated, like, “Why am I listening to you complain about your job when I hired you to do a job over here that you’re not even doing?”
We spent some time really getting clear, what is this job? Why do you have this job in the first place? You pay this woman a certain amount of money every month to work for you. Why? Get that really clear. So we did that. We got that job really clear. Now, how do you know that the job is being done? What are the tools? What are the measurements? What are the resources you have available to know that the work is getting done? We got that clear. Then she did more work that I do with my clients, which is where we really come up with our manifesto, we look at who are we as a business, we kind of dive into the discussion around what is the soul of our company? What do we stand for? What do we do? How do we do it? These are all big questions I work with my clients on. We did that work too.
Then my client sat down with this employee who she really had been struggling with for many, many, many months, almost a full year. She sat down and she explained it to her. “Here’s the company and what we do. Here’s your job and what you’re supposed to do in it. Here’s how I know you’re doing it or not.” All laid out for her, pretty. And of course, in this case, the employee was completely relieved. Why? Because your job as the business owner, and as the leader here is to help people know how to win. As soon as she did that, now the employee knew what the rules were like, “Oh, okay. Now I see how to win.” Now, in this case, the employee was relieved and said, “Oh, I can totally do that, “and was very excited and we’re still sort of early in the process so we’re waiting to see if the employee can rise to the occasion.
But the best part was that my client, the business owner, was just elated and now is loving her business again, eager to get to work, eager to do what she does, eager to come up with new ideas, eager to get focused back on the vision, because she knows that when you set clear accountability structures, you put those in place for staff, it’s miraculous, how it changes everything. Because now everybody knows what’s expected. We’re not guessing anymore. We’re not playing read my mind. We’re not playing guess what’s behind my back and if you get it right, you get a million dollars, if you get it wrong, I get mad at you.
We’re going to just get really clear and in clarity, grounding everything in clarity, everybody knows what’s expected, everybody knows how to win. Now you don’t have to be going and getting work done because someone’s not getting it done. Because what will happen, and we’ll use this example, what will happen if she doesn’t get the job done the way she’s supposed to? Well, we’ve already communicated that. She’s told her exactly what’s expected, so if you don’t meet the expectations, then this isn’t the right job, or maybe we should put you in another job, or maybe the employee figures out, “I don’t want this job.” But now it’s about the job and it’s about the production and the job, it’s not personal. It’s not that you’re not doing what I want you to do or you don’t know how to give me what I want, which makes it so heavy and difficult for people to slog their way through. We just have to be clear about what we expect, be clear and talk to people and help them understand it, and then have clear measurements that help us know if they did it or not, and help them know if they did it or not.
Imagine running a race, imagine if you’re a track star and you run a track race, but there’s no finish line, there’s no track. You’re just supposed to run and then they’ll let you know if you’re successful. I feel like that’s what a lot of leaders are doing right now is they’re just assuming that somebody knows how to win a marathon or how to win a track race, because they’ve been running before, but they didn’t realize that you actually have to lay down the track, you have to show people how to win, you have to show them where the finish line is. That’s your job. It’s your business. You’re in charge. You have to help people be successful, and as soon as you do that, as soon as you get clear …
If you take that analogy one step further and all these people are on the track, and the person who built the track and built the race and sold people to come and watch runners run, they’re not going to lose their minds if runners go off the track. If runners go off the track, they’re disqualified, it’s nothing personal because the track is clear. This is how you run a race. Somebody runs over here and thinks they’re going to win a race, that doesn’t make any sense. As an employee team, people that are working for you, if you’ve been clear about, “This is the track, and this is how to be successful,” somebody goes way off track literally or figuratively that’s okay, but it’s not personal. It’s just a problem that I have to address, “No, you can’t win if you’re off the track. You have to come back over here. Remember we set these expectations? We looked at what the job is. We looked at how to win. We’re going to talk about it on a regular basis. We’re going to track it.” There’s no more drama.
My client who just literally just went through this, I actually have several but this one in particular was so, I felt so badly because she really was like, “I think I need to sell my business.” She was so frustrated. All she had to do was just take the time to get a little more clear and within three months, this whole problem has been solved because now she knows that even if this employee doesn’t work out and things don’t change as far as the employee’s performance is concerned, she’s done the work of being super clear with this employee, so now it’s not going to feel so heavy and so overwhelming. Because her thoughts are, “I’ve done the work. I’ve set this up successfully. I know how to help her win and if she chooses not to do the work, that’s going to be up to her.” Yeah?
Accountability and self-care are incredibly related. Now we could take this in so many other places in your life other than just your business, but today we’re just talking about how holding employees accountable, designing their jobs well, creating expectations, being clear is the ultimate in self care for you as a business owner so that you can feel like, “I’ve done everything I can to ensure this employee knows how to be successful. I support them, I follow through with them, and then I can let it go and see how they choose to deliver.”
Thank you so much for tuning in. I’ll talk to you again next time.
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