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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Bullock

5 ways to take the stress out of managing people

Managing people can be stressful, especially when you start out. Giving people responsibilities can lead to disappointment if they don’t deliver. Delegating decision-making can be even harder.

Over time, having to make all the decisions and carry all the responsibility can lead to burnout. I want to share with you the journey I took from near burnout to a high-performing team.

Accountability involves asking people difficult questions about what has happened and allowing them to answer.

I found, through experience, that the best way to hold someone accountable is through direct, open questions.

Remember, too, that your approach needs to align with the severity of the issue they are being held accountable for. This can range from a brief, informal chat to a formal conversation or even a warning. Responding quickly to issues of accountability will prevent the need for more severe measures.

Regardless of the type of meeting, here are some tips you can use to make the interaction more successful.

1) Avoid closed questions. Use open questions that cannot be answered with yes/no. Open questions create dialogue and will help in problem-solving.

2) Push through excuses. Excuses without ownership are the opposite of accountability. Question any excuses which don’t include some responsibility.

3) Don’t jump straight to problem-solving. As a leader, it can be tempting to try and solve everyone’s problems. Don’t. Give them ownership by guiding them to a solution.

4) Disagree if you need to. It's ok to disagree at the end of the discussion. If you do, however, make sure it's understood that they will be held accountable for what they have committed to.

5) Set boundaries. Outline the consequences. Holding people accountable must ultimately end with consequences if they do not meet the standards required of them.

TAKEAWAY: The most stressful aspect of managing people is holding them accountable. The steps outlined here helped me to hold my team more accountable and manage the process better when I do.


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