Why is holding people accountable so difficult as a female business owner? How did simply holding people accountable become associated with being bitchy? Why do not only others tend to think that but we, as women, can even think that about ourselves? It’s not right!
In this episode, I tackle the problem of holding people accountable. It seems that in today’s age, this can be harder than ever before. But it shouldn’t be. All you’re actually doing is expecting people to do what they agreed to do. It’s not unreasonable. I’ve found that the most important and impactful form of accountability is holding ourselves accountable. What do I mean by that? Let’s talk about how to hold people accountable, without anger and while showing one of the highest forms of love.
“Women, over time, learn to not hold themselves to account when other people disregard, disrespect, do not follow through on – or just ignore – a grievance. Because they don’t want to be thought of as aggressive or bitchy… They get left out of the tribe. So what I want you to know is: You’re very welcome in my tribe.” – Kris Plachy
What You’ll Learn
- Holding yourself accountable
- You’re very welcome in my tribe
- You don’t have to be mad
- What you’re really saying when you don’t address it
- One of the highest forms of love
Contact Info and Recommended Resources
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Book Recommendation: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
Connect with Kris Plachy
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Kris Plachy: Why is holding people accountable, especially when it comes to women who are doing the holding of accounting ability, why do we associate the word “bitch” with that? Why is it that you’re bitchy if you hold people accountable? Why do you think that about yourself and why do other people think that about you? How about we talk about that today? And how about we talk about how we can change the way we think about that? Let’s go!
Welcome to the Leadership is Feminine podcast. I am Kris Plachy. I am the CEO advisor to amazing powerful, successful, high-achieving and oh so graceful female entrepreneurs. I am so damn proud of the women I get to work with every day and would love to shout it to the rooftops all day, every day.
This is your happy reminder that the Leadership is Feminine Formula, Live Free Five Day Pass is currently open for registration. Go to www.krisplachy.com/freepass. That’s how you’re going to get your ticket to join me for five days every morning. I’m going to teach you a little something, I’m a tell you a little something. I’m a pump you up mama. Listen to me, you’re amazing. And you need to be reminded that you have had those ruby slippers all along, Dorothy, you know what you’re doing. You are an amazing leader already. Why? Because you’re a woman. Let’s go!
And listen, I know sometimes people like to think I’m bashing the men because I’m talking so much about the women. That’s just not true. Can we be clear? I love the men. I have a husband that I’ve been married to lovingly for 26 years. And I have two sons who I love. I also love women. I have a daughter. Women are still way to underrepresented in leadership. And the reason for that is…well, the reasons are exponential. But one of the biggest ones is that women don’t even know how capable they are as leaders because they aren’t tapping into it.
So, in this Five-Day Free Pass, I’m going to talk to you about the Leadership is Feminine Formula and why everything that you already know about yourself is actually making you a strong leader, even though you’re oftentimes not even tapping into it. So, are you coming? Because we’re going to have a lot of fun. And we’re going to learn some stuff. And I’m so excited to meet you. So, I hope you’ll be there.
Okay, so let’s talk about holding people accountable. And I want to take this out of context of work, because for whatever reason, people get it better when we do that. So, let’s just say you and I make plans for dinner and we make plans two weeks ago, we decided we’re going to meet at the local Italian restaurant and we’re going to meet at 6:30 and oh my god, it will be so fun. I haven’t seen you in a while. Let’s get together. Absolutely. 6:30. Okay, see you there Tuesday night? Yes. Can’t wait.
We follow up, we text. Yes. Yes. Yes. Looking forward to seeing you. Get there, sitting there at 6:30, you’re not there. I tell the hostess. “Oh, she’s probably just running a little late.” I don’t get any text from you. I text you. I don’t hear from you. Now’s about the time I start to think you were hit by a car. Something terrible happened to you. I don’t hear from you. I managed to suck down a glass of red wine. I decide I’m not terribly hungry and I leave.
Now, what do I do? Do I just drop it? Hope you didn’t die? Or do I follow up: “Hey, we agreed to meet at Piates on Tuesday at 6:30. What happened to you?” You reply: “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. I got really distracted with work. My kid…blah, blah, blah,” right? You’ve got all the story. Is that where we just say: “Oh, it’s no problem?” That’s what a lot of you do? I know you do. Or do we say: “I get it. Hey, next time, can you please text me? Can you let me know you’re not going to make it. We made an agreement to be there. I mean, I get it that things come up, but you know, I would have let you know, I would expect you to let me know.”
Does that seem like a reasonable request to you? And doesn’t it seem reasonable that you would have actually told me that you weren’t coming? That’s accountability. That’s what we’re talking about. We made an agreement. In this case, the agreement wasn’t meant by one party. One party can decide, “Oh, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it. My time is not important.” I’ll just blow it all off. That’s what a lot of you do. Or you say, “Hey, I get it. I totally understand things come up in the future, please let me know.’ That’s accountability.
But you know what kind of accountability that is that’s me, holding myself accountable for saying, “Hey, you didn’t meet our agreement and we made an agreement. I’m not making it up. I didn’t just decide to go to Piates alone and blame you for not being there? No, no, we talked about it.” Now that’s at a person-to-person level. Do we all know things happen? Of course. But do we agree to communicate? I think so. We can even take that one step further and say in advance, “Hey, if you don’t think it’s going to work out, could you let me know the day before?” This accountability. I hold myself accountable for having the follow up conversation with you about an agreement.
Now, when I teach accountability, I teach it as like a scale. I don’t even never know if that’s the right way to say it. But I always just imagine it on the line, right? And on one side of the line, we have the ultimate of accountability is that you get fired. And then on the other side of the line, we have the ultimate and another form of accountability, which is you get a big promotion, a big raise big reward, a big recognition, something. Accountability fits in all sorts of that, either all the way up to accounting for your results, and you’re fired, or I’m accounting for your results and you’re promoted.
But we’ve made accountability mean bad things, because that’s when we tend to talk about it, right? People don’t do something and then we hold them accountable. But really, all we’re doing is we’re just holding ourselves to the level of respect that we expect to address that. And so, at work all day, we’re making agreements. “Hey, can you make sure this is done by this day? Hey, can you follow up with so and so by this time,” right?
We’re just making agreements. But we make it mean—so many of my clients make it mean that if I say to you, hey, you actually agreed to generate $300,000 in revenue last month, and you generated 100? I make it mean that somehow now I’m a bitch because I’m saying back to you what you agreed to that you didn’t do it. And what’s more, a lot of times you get accused of being that way. You made the agreement, why am I in trouble for you not doing what you said you would do?
But that’s insidious in our society, that women should not hold boundary and line for agreements, for commitments that are made to them? Am I generalizing? Yes. Is that fair to do? It is. And so, women over time learn to not hold themselves to account when other people disregard, disrespect, do not follow through on or just ignore agreements, because they don’t want to be thought of as aggressive or bitchy. Because what happens to those women? They get left out of the tribe.
So, what I want you to know is you’re very welcome in my tribe. I think that you can have these kinds of conversations with people from love. I have them with my kids all the time. “Hey, you said you were going to do the dishes last night. You didn’t do the dishes last night. Let’s get those dishes done by 10 o’clock this morning, okay? Please.”
Aren’t I doing the right thing by my kid, by holding myself accountable to have that conversation? Isn’t that actually the best thing to do for my kid? Is to hold them to be responsible to their commitments? Doesn’t this kid have to go in the world and won’t that kid deal with other adults who will not be as tolerant as me? Less likely, but as moms really, “Oh, it’s fine. I’ll take care of it.”
No, my job is to raise an adult who can function. My job as the owner/leader of a business is to hold myself to have the conversation that addresses where we have not met our agreements. But I don’t have to be mad at you. This is one of the things that Brene Brown talks about in her Gift of Imperfection. She talks about that we have this belief, especially managers that we have to blame people in order to have these accountability conversations, that somehow, we have to work ourselves up into believing that there’s something actually wrong with you, that you did it on purpose, that you’re disrespectful, that you’re trying to be difficult.
We have to make it be a big deal in our brain in order for me to muster up the courage to address it. And by the time I’ve done that, now it feels like confrontation, because I have to be mad at you. That’s not loving, and you’re loving. That’s why it feels so awful to you. You don’t have to be mad at someone to have an accountability conversation. Let’s just change accountability to agreements. “Hey, you didn’t meet your agreement here. Hey, you didn’t meet your commitment here? What’s going on? Where’s the miss? What don’t I know? What happened? What do you mean? I care about you? I care about your work. I think what you do is important enough to ask you. What happened to it? Where is it?”
If I don’t address it? Isn’t that actually saying what you do doesn’t matter? Isn’t that actually rewarding someone for not meeting an agreement? And the truth is: people want to know how to win. They just don’t want to be scolded like children. People like to be in environments where they are held to a higher standard. People like to work for leaders who help them grow. And if that person is not working for you, if you have somebody on your team who does not want to grow, who does not want to excel, why bother? Like, it’s okay, if they think you’re a bitch. There’s a quote about that somewhere, right? Like, only assess the value of people’s opinions of you that you would sort of value back, right? Like, why are we doing that? Stop it!
I had a very successful leader that I worked with years ago, one of my favorite leaders, his name’s Mark. And he said to me, he said, “I think that holding people accountable is one of the highest forms of love you can ever express,” and I so agree with him. It to me, saying, “Hey, I know you said you would do this and you didn’t,” acknowledges that the work that they do is important, and that you think that they are important enough to acknowledge it. Because the truth is: the majority of people who have like a normal conscience, know they didn’t do it. They know they missed a commitment. They know they failed an agreement, they know.
So, you not actually addressing it, now we’ve put it in this quiet little ‘elephant in the room’ box. That’s incredibly uncomfortable, and, to me, feels very unloving. So, all of this part of you that does love people and does know how to demonstrate empathy, and that does know and believe in the power of grace and connection, and collaboration, that is the part of you I want you to tap. You are not being a bitch because you say to someone, “Hey, what’s happening here, I thought you were going to have this done today?” That’s telling the truth.
Now, if you yell and you scream and you insult people and you cuss them out, and you tell them they’re horrible, and you’re disappointed in them, and they’re a waste of your time, and you do all of those things, now you’re just a control freak, and you’re showing everybody how insecure you are. Stop it! Anger is unnecessary in management. It has no place. We do not have to and nor should we ever insult people into performance, bully them into results, scare them to perform. Does it work? Yes. It’s a horrible platform from which to thrive and succeed. And you, if you have paid any attention to the world, you know that. So, unless you’re maniacal and you’re a narcissist, and you’re totally absorbed with yourself and you don’t care about other people, that is not a tactic I would recommend.
And I believe for most women, it ends up being the opposite. Women allow way too much to not happen in their organization for fear of looking like a control freak. Someone who doesn’t care about people, someone who sounds that way. And I think it’s because we haven’t had a lot of modeling about what it means to just have a conversation with someone to say, “Listen, I think you’re a great guy and all, but you didn’t meet your agreements 12 times in a row. We’re paying you to be here to deliver results. We’ve got to talk about this. If this is kind of how you do your job, I get it. But it’s not going to probably work anymore. Like, isn’t that obvious? I don’t have to be mad. I don’t have to be angry at you, I don’t have to be resentful of you. It’s just me telling you the truth. If you do get angry, it’s normal.
If you do get really frustrated when people disappoint and don’t do what you want, it’s normal. That’s why we do our How to CEO program. That’s why we have a lab. Because women do have to come and work it out before they talk to their team member. They do have to get their head on straight like, okay, why am I making this so personal? Why am I so triggered? Well, that’s got years in the making. Let’s undo that. And then let’s talk about how you can go have that conversation and be constructive, that you don’t have to be either totally controlling or totally passive when it comes to accountability.
I want you to really, really practice believing me on that. And that really, all you’re doing is making agreements with people and holding them to their agreement. That’s it. You either did or you didn’t. It’s not personal. So, when we have our Five-Day Free Pass Leadership is Feminine Formula, we’re going to learn how to lead and how to tap into so much of what I know are your superpowers already. So don’t forget to go to www.krisplachy.com/freepass so that you can register. It’s free. Did I tell you about already? I would love, love, love to talk with you share with you, answer your questions and actually advise you. Are you coming? We’re going to be launching this class on Monday, October 10. And we’re going to meet every morning for five days at 8am Pacific time, so I hope you’ll be able to join us. Talk to you again next time.
Hey, entrepreneur, you started that gorgeous business of yours to do some real good in the world. You probably didn’t start your business to manage people, but here you are, having to figure out how to manage people to get work done, and maybe it’s not going so well. So, head on over to www.krisplachy.com/howtoceo and let’s talk about how we can help you learn how to lead, manage, hire, fire, and all the things so that you can build a team that expands on your amazing dream.Download Transcript