Accountability: Micromanagement’s Less Hated Brother

No one likes to work with the feeling that they constantly have to look over their shoulder to see who is watching. Even worse, the thought of being micromanaged brews up disgust in the pits of our stomachs. Accountability is micromanagement’s less hated brother. Most people don’t like either of the two, but if you had to pick one to spend the day with, you’d probably pick accountability. The word ‘accountability’ raises all kinds of emotions for people. It also means different things to sales professionals, managers, and business owners. While everyone would agree that it is necessary on some level, we don’t really see eye to eye on what the terms should be. So, is accountability bad? No, but it is definitely misunderstood. 


Accountability is a bridge to success, not a barrier. This is especially true in sales. When people know what to expect and believe they can meet someone’s expectations they can, and should, get excited about accountability. The phrase, “Trust, but verify” contradicts itself. However, “Verify and trust” makes a whole lot of sense. So, how can we shed the micromanagement stigma and put a positive spin on accountability? Give these tips a try.


  1. Set goals together – Leave nothing to chance when it comes to what you want. People should know what you expect of them. Not only that, get their input as well. If they have a say in what’s expected of them, they are more likely to engage and achieve the results you want.
  2. Give them a path to success – It’s not enough to give someone a goal, break it down as to how it can be achieved. Demonstrate that you didn’t just make up your expectations out of the blue, but how you believe it is attainable step by step.
  3. Get some KPIs – Key performance indicators don’t have to be complicated or numerous, they just have to identify the activities that have the biggest propensity to achieve the desired results. What can this person do measured and repeatedly to really move the dial? Keep it simple and effective.
  4. Create a feedback loop – Make sure you check in on at least a monthly basis and talk about what is or is not working. This will keep both you and your salesperson accountable. 
  5. Allow for failure – Things aren’t always going to go the way you or the salesperson wants, and people should be allowed to fail so they can learn and grow. Sometimes the best results are the incremental improvements we get today that come back around and get the results tomorrow.

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