How to Hold Millennials Accountable in 7 Steps
For as long as I can remember, the older generation has complained about the younger. “What’s the world coming to?”
Some Baby-Boomer-leaders wonder how to hold those irresponsible Millennials accountable.
How to hold Millennials Accountable (Or anyone else):
#1. Stop inviting excuses:
Don’t ask for reasons why something wasn’t done, if you don’t want to hear excuses why something wasn’t done.
“Why didn’t you follow through?” is an invitation for excuses.
What kind of conversation does, “What happened?” call for?
Face it. There’s always a “good” reason when someone didn’t finish a task. Don’t ask to hear it.
#2. Don’t have the same conversation two or three times.
When someone doesn’t finish tasks, don’t expect anything to change until you change what you do. The same conversation will yield the same disappointing results.
“Hope” doesn’t magically change performance. In reality, hope often prolongs poor performance.
You prolong poor performance by sending signals that poor performance is OK.
#3. Give second chances.
Leaders who don’t give second chances create cut-throat, over-protective, slow-moving teams.
#4. Evaluate commitment.
Ask, “On a scale of 1 to 10 how important is this to you?” If the number is acceptable, ask, question five. If the number is too low, discuss values.
Those who are committed find a way. Those who aren’t committed make excuses.
#5. Double check for clarity.
Were expectations clear?
#6. Ask the power question.
“What makes you think things will be different next time?”
Listen for specific behaviors, not wishful thinking. Next time will be like last time, if they leave your office with the plan they used last time.
#7. Create consequences with them.
“What would you like me to do, if you don’t follow through next time?”
Go with their response, if it’s acceptable. Add or subtract consequences if theirs is too harsh or soft.
Tip: Don’t prolong conversations about poor performance, if:
- Expectations were clear.
- Capability is adequate.
- Circumstances were stable.
How might leaders hold people who have fallen short accountable?
The rest of the post does not come up to read. Thanks!
Hi Dan, when I select “Read more of this post” from my email, your post is not displaying. Only the comment section.
Good stuff, Dan. As a gen-X-er myself, I used to find things in common with the Boomers as well as the Millennials, but more and more, it’s harder for me to understand the attitudes and often lack of personal responsibility that I often see within this group. That said, there’s a ton of talent and potential there, so input like yours is valuable for sure. The topic of managing Millennials in general is a common one throughout my industry, and I’m glad that people are recognizing that leadership for this group is optimized by adjusting the approach as opposed to simply accommodating the perceived shortfalls as “the new norm” or expecting them to automatically assimilate to the world that most of them weren’t properly prepared for.
Good evening Dan
Great topic, however, when I selected ‘Read more of this post’, the contents are not displaying. Not sure what the problem is. Will try later! Anthony Joseph
Thought you would like to know the link is broken in the post.
I cannot see the post – only the title and date. Has the post been removed?
Dan! I’m breathless with anticipation about what this post was going to reveal!! Is it just me or is anyone else unable to see anything more than the title?
I’m just landing in Phoenix. I’ll look into this ASAP!
I like Phoenix, one of the daughters of my sister was there, for a whole year…for myself, I never was in America- a least In this life 😉 all the best from Christoph , not Colomb;)
Thanks Chris. I must confess that all I saw of Phoenix was the inside of the airport! 🙂
Perhaps one day, you will visit.
I cannot access the post either — just the comment section.
I don’t see the post and I don’t see any comments. Does this mean that we can’t hold millennials accountable? It does seem that way at times and other times they’ll really surprise you.
Too funny. 😀
When I get off the plane I’ll do my best to fix this.
I think that Rian is clairvoyant, couldn’t read it either, but last night on tv, they mentioned that Millenials outnumber all of us. I don’t think that I fit into any group, all that I know is that they truly display a sense of entitlement, and it does worry me. Especially with a huge election coming up. They think that they deserve free college, when I know that I had to pay for my own.
Thanks Scully. You’re right. The Millienals are “taking over”. 🙂 All us gray-heads better deal with it. 🙂
there is a headline but no content
To Whom It May Concern,
I really want to read this article, but all I see are comments from others. Please help me.
Thank you, Roslyn Benjamin
On Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 11:09 AM, Leadership Freak wrote:
> Dan Rockwell posted: “For as long as I’ve lived, the older generation has > complained about the younger. “What’s the world coming to?” Some > Baby-Boomer-leaders wonder how to hold Millenials accountable. How to > hold Millennials Accountable (Or anyone else): #1. Stop i” >
I’m also having trouble viewing the post from the link in the email. Thanks,
As an older Millennial, but still one nonetheless, I wonder if this is some Zen-ish post about there is no way to do it. LOL
Thanks Lost… great comment. I’m still smiling. 🙂
I’m not enlightened enough to be Zenish.
Dan the second time I tried to open the Post it worked, if that helps.
As to Millennials, they are now equal in potential voters to our older Boomer group. We had dinner recently with 4 young Millennial college women. I asked who they liked in this presidential election. One for Clinton, One for Kasich, Two for Bernie. It is a new world and they will soon be in charge! And the Boomers have never made an easy transition yet.
Thanks Brad. I boarded for Philly and set my personal hot spot up. I’ve updated. I hope it works now.
You’re observation is right on. Millenials will soon be running the place. 🙂
This was so worth waiting for, Dan! #7: Magical. I actually grinned and chuckled as I read it to myself. Thanks.
Thanks Christopher. I’m glad you enjoyed it. “Magical” … not that’s a first. 🙂
Thank you for your great insights. Now, if those in leadership above those of us who give the feedback to millennials would be supportive, that would really help to effectuate positive change and signal that delivering on commitments IS important in the workplace.
Thanks Cynthia. Nothing like a leadership team that supports each other. 🙂
Same problem here – the rest of the post does not come up on the site. It sounds like a very worthwhile post, though, so I’m hoping the issue can be resolved. Thanks!
I am still not seeing the post, but would love too:)
Dan – Thank you for getting the post corrected. it was well worth the time to read!
Thanks David. My pleasure. Thanks for the kind words.
I think this list is applicable for all – it’s not limited to a single generation.
Thanks Rika. I hope so. 🙂
I have to say, not a great title. Whether be intentional or not, stating that “Millennials” aren’t accountable is what a ‘manager’ would say, not a ‘leader.’ I’m a Gen X’er and I’ve seen plenty of Boomers have no business being in a leadership role. I came up with a saying, “too many managers, not enough leaders” directly from being at places where people who were older than me ran things into the ground and who couldn’t take ownership for their decisions and actions to save their own lives. Hey Dan, there’s a reason your article didn’t post initially. Probably should’ve seen it as a sign…
Thanks Lee. The title is a little tongue-in-check.
You are exactly right. Many Boomers shouldn’t be in leadership. To make matters more challenging, the autocratic style that is more suited to Boomers, is working less and less in today’s world.
You are just stating facts. I didn’t read judgement in your comment. Please don’t read judgement in mine.
BTW… If you read the main heading in the post, it says (Or anyone else.)
I’m thankful you stopped in today.
Well, what the heck, why not blame the baby boomers for raising the next few generations, make them accountable for it, right? Then no need to come up with some lame ‘excuse’ for not to commit!
My reply was rather addressed to Lee Uchiyama
Excellent and very practical. Holding people accountable in healthy ways is probably one of the most challenging aspects of leadership there is.
Dan, Accountable for everyone is lacking today, I hold myself accountable everyday and I expect the same from my workers! If the incidents you have described we have a meeting and we discuss as a team or one on one, and review the issues! Many times conditions develop that we don’t see or prepare for, you regroup and conquer! Somethings are not controllable, much of what you have described is!
Thanks Tim. Really, the only true accountability there is, is self imposed. We can help others own it, but you can’t make them. It takes leadership to help others hold themselves accountable.
I definitely agree that if circumstances change, the original commitments may need to change. Best
Great advice on accountability regardless of generation.
Favorite insight: Those who are committed find a way. Those who aren’t committed make excuses.
As I look back, this has been and always will be 100% true.
Being a new manager, (and a millennial leading and managing millennials,) I found this post very practical and helpful.
I also found some opportunities in it for myself to grow as well!
Very good post Dan!
Great questions to use in those difficult conversations. Brings awareness, sheds light on reality and the expectation for things to change.
“What makes you think things will be different next time?”
what’s your reaction when someone (honestly) tells you “I don’t. You won’t listen to WHY it goes wrong, and you won’t provide what I need to to stop it happening. Why would it be different?”
Being a member of Gen-X, all I can do is shake my head thinking that someone should have asked the Baby Boomers this about a variety of issues, from economic chaos (Lesson learned from Enron? Nah, let the Recession Commence) to war (oh boy, this attempt at Western-centric warfare in Asia will succeed, regardless of what history says) to the state of the environment (burn baby burn).
Every generation has it’s flaws, but unless its not painfully obvious, the degeneration of the national infrastructure, assault on sound science, disruption of the space program, and the fundamentalist infiltration of state and local government and the associated legislation based in fear (bathroom bills, for example) aren’t originating with people who remember McHale’s Navy or F Troop on TV in OR out of syndication.
Baby Boomers have made themselves deaf to it, but’s a well know mantra in the under 50 set that this country will change, and for the better, once the great die-off starts and those of us who never had Archie Bunker as an archetype go off to their just rewards.
aren’t originating with people who don’t remember McHale’s Navy or F Troop on TV in OR out of syndication.
This is great. When I read this I felt like I could apply this to keep myself and my peers accountable for group efforts. Thanks Dan, I now have another lens to use when inspecting myself.
Dan, could you do a post about how to build an organizational culture that maximizes the strengths of millennials?