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Richard Holland

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Why Are We Rewarding Non-Accountability?

In my sessions at conferences, I discuss the importance of measuring and holding employees accountable. Doing this consistently allows you to identify your top performers, check for consistency across areas of responsibility and identify employees and/or processes that may need improvement.

Speaker, author and accountability expert, Linda Galindo, recently shared an interesting viewpoint in an interview. In her opinion, “not being accountable is being rewarded more than being accountable.” When asked to explain, she went on to say that “Let’s say you’re a manager. You can spend time teaching, nurturing, and developing your employees. Or you can hit your quarterly targets. What do you do? The answer is obvious. When something goes wrong with an employee, you put in a quick fix rather than a long-term solution. I call it, ‘rescue, fix, and save.’… If you look at most performance evaluation forms for management, they include developing and retaining employees. In reality, however, it’s still hitting your numbers and meeting the immediate deadlines that get the reward. Thus, even when a manager has done nothing to develop or retain talent, a manager who hits the numbers and meets the deadlines, still gets a raise.” In the rest of the interview, she elaborates further on how this not only affects employee retention and engagement but also can actually hurt a business. In management’s efforts to hit goals, some will pick up the slack of the non-performer while some will ask their top performers to help. Either way, you’re either punishing your top performers (which can lead to burnout) or your managers are spending time on tasks that they should be delegating.

Every department of a dealership has goals. Nobody is saying that you shouldn’t strive to meet those goals. I believe what she’s saying is that accountability is not something that should be measured simply by whether or not those goals were met. An inherent responsibility of management is to manage employees. A great manager knows how to hire, train and retain employees as well as delegate tasks in a way that best uses each employee’s talent to collectively reach the businesses’ goals in the most efficient way. Simply achieving the goal is not accountability. Think of it this way: Your dealership is a team. As a team, you have goals to reach. If everyone sat in the service area and watched television every day except for one person and, somehow, that single person was able to achieve the goals for the dealership by himself, would you feel like your employees did their jobs? Of course not.

Part of being an effective manager is clearly defining each person’s role and holding him or her accountable for their responsibilities.  By doing this, you not only create an efficient team but you can also better identify areas of strengths and weaknesses in your organization. Accountability also plays a large role in employee retention. “A culture that embraces personal accountability creates the optimal environment for talent to flourish and not want to leave for all the right reasons”, says Ms. Galindo.  

Take a moment and evaluate what your business is doing to hold its managers and employees accountable. Is it simply through meeting monthly sales or revenue goals? If so, you may be doing your business a disservice and leaving money on the table that, had you enforced more personal accountability rather than being focused on goal-centered accountability, you might have been able to not only meet but also exceed your goals. 

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