Join Mike Figliuolo for an in-depth discussion in this video Giving authority with responsibility, part of Building High-Performance Teams.
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- Members of high performing teams are going to be the most satisfied when they feel like they can have an impact on the outcome of their work. And to get to that point, you need to understand the difference between accountability and responsibility and then how authority inerplays with both of them. Accountability is an external force, that's when someone tells you "you are responsible "for these results and I am going " to hold you accountable to meeting them." "And if you meet them, there are benefits and if you fail to, there are consequences." Responsibility is when we as individuals hold ourselves accountable, we don't need that external force telling us that there are benefits and consequences.
We find that inside and say "here is the standard "and I'm going to make sure that I achieve that goal." Now, making sure that people are able to be satisfied in performing those activities requires you as the leader to give them authority. Authority is the power to make decisions. It requires you to delegate and accept risk if someone makes a mistake. It empowers people, to give them authority, and it makes them feel like "Hey boss, you trust me, "you're letting me make these decisions, "where I'm accountable for the results." It's really unfair to hold someone accountable for a result if we don't give them the authority to impact the outcome.
Allow me to offer an example from my personal experience where accountability, responsibility and authority came into play. At one point in my career I was responsible for making acquisitions for our division. We would buy companies that were out in the marketplace and try and grow our business unit in doing so. And my boss said to me "Mike, you are accountable "for making sure that we make good deals. "You have to do this many deals a year, "of this size and we need this type of financial return "on the investments we make and at the end of the year "you're going to be measured on your performance "on how well those deals go." So my boss had made me accountable for those results.
I was very excited about this type of work. I had never done acquisitions before and I said "I really want to do a good job, "I want to learn a lot and I wanna contribute "a great deal to this division." So I made myself responsible for achieving those goals. I probably set higher standards for myself then the goals that were laid out for me. Now the critical piece of this was my boss gave me the authority to impact those decisions.
And there was one deal that came up where it was pretty contentious between us and the person we were trying to purchase the business from. And my boss had said, "Here is the return "you have to earn on any deal you make. "Now go make it happen and whatever you have to do "to make that deal happen, you are empowered "to make those decisions." I personally got to negotiate with this other businesses owner. I tried multiple different deal structures, I offered certain things and in return asked for others, and I was able to negotiate the entire deal.
Now, as I look back at it there were some things that I gave away that I probably shouldn't have there were things I should have asked for from that business owner that I didn't and it wasn't a perfect deal. But my boss had empowered me to make those trade offs, and make those decisions and ultimately I was able to hold myself responsible for the performance of that deal. And the deal went well but more important then that, was I felt like my boss trusted me, I felt like I had the ability to control the outcome of my work and I probably worked harder on that deal then I've worked up to that point in my career because I was excited about it and I owned the result.
So as you think about your people and what you hold them accountable to in terms of metrics and performance, you have to be willing to give them the authority to make those decisions. Because if you don't it's unfair to hold them accountable for the results when they can't affect that result with the decisions that they make. And that empowerment is going to be the key to their satisfaction with their work.
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- Creating a compelling vision and mission for your team
- Understanding the resources your team needs to succeed
- Recruiting the right people
- Balancing workload
- Setting goals
- Empowering people
- Resolving conflict
- Building bench strength and succession plans<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.