November 2015: Business Building

Words: George HedleyNovember 2015

Make People Accountable and Responsible

George-HedleyBy George Hedley

Last week, I was coaching a construction business owner client. He told me his employees were terrible, even though most of them had been with him for five years or more. They weren’t accountable or responsible for anything, getting work done on time, or doing quality work. They were doing sloppy work and running over budget on every job. He didn’t know what to do and was stressed-out. Want to know why employees aren’t accountable or responsible? Think about your reasons. Perhaps you think your people don’t care; don’t want to work any harder; or don’t want to do more than the minimum required. The real reason is their boss or, perhaps, you! You don’t make them accountable or responsible! You continue to let them do poor work and not achieve expected results. Most employees want to do a good job and take on more responsibility. But in most cases, their control freak, micromanaging, bad bosses tolerate poor performance, don’t let go of making decisions and treat their people like stupid children who can’t think for themselves. Sound familiar? As I probed deeper, I discovered my client made all the important decisions for his crews, ordered all the material, scheduled every worker every day, didn’t have field meetings with them, and didn’t share job results with the foreman. No wonder his crews weren’t accountable or responsible for achieving results. They weren’t making any decisions, or in charge of their own work plan. The business owner was the only one responsible for anything.

Do you SOPP?

Do people continuously call you or line up outside your office door waiting for you to solve their problems? Why? Maybe you have a sign around your neck: “I SOPP.” (I solve other people’s problems.) When you solve other people’s problems, guess what happens? They bring you more problems. But it makes you feel powerful when you control everything for everyone. When bad bosses give someone a task or responsibility to accomplish, they typically don’t let go of every decision required to fully accomplish the job. This bad boss delegates and then tells the employee to check with them first before committing, making any decisions, or spending any money. Email to request your free “BIZ-Function Accountability Org Chart.”

Low control = high performance

Leading your company is not about being in charge and in control of every aspect of the operation. It’s about getting results through people. Excellent managers encourage employees to take on more responsibility by actually delegating the entire task. This takes more time, patience and trust. Start by explaining the job and outlining the desired end result. This will teach employees how you want things done and what’s expected. Next make sure they know their boundaries and standard systems, offer training, set interim check in times, and schedule a review of the final results after the task is completed. Results are what matter. Written BIZ-Systems help the process. When you have written company systems and standards, you can then make employees accountable and responsible to complete tasks the same way every time. When you make every decision, people don’t take responsibility. When you fix or solve every employee’s problems, they can’t be accountable. When you lead every meeting, managers don’t grow. When you approve every purchase, contract or strategic move, good people don’t have to think or be their best. When a customer calls with an issue, do you immediately handle it yourself? A better solution would be to listen and then turn your customer’s concern over to a supervisor or manager. Write out the few things you absolutely can’t delegate. And then, list out the top 20 things you can let go of starting immediately. Make a goal to delegate one item on the list every week. You’ll be amazed how excited your people will be to accept new responsibilities and become accountable.
George Hedley works with contractors to build profitable growing companies. He is a professional construction business coach, popular speaker and best-selling author of “Get Your Construction Business To Grow & Profit,” available at his online bookstore at Sign up for his free e-newsletter, be part of a BIZCOACH program, or get a discount coupon for online classes at George Hedley       HARDHAT Presentations, 800-851-8553 
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