How to keep employees accountable without causing conflict


One of the cornerstones of good management is being able to keep employees accountable, fairly and firmly. Many well-meaning managers get into hot water in this department because they are simply not equipped to handle it the right way. It’s critical to the success of your business to hold employees accountable – as their shortcomings become the company’s failings.

As CEO of real estate network, Stockdale & Leggo, I have a slew of “dos and don’ts” to keep your employees on track and accountable in the best way possible so that everyone can moved forward with confidence and satisfaction. Let’s discuss five ways you can get the most out of your employees while keeping everyone on side.

Don’t fear it

Most people fear conflict and avoid it like the plague, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Train your managers to tackle conflict constructively and with confidence. Getting trapped by the fear of making waves and settling for mediocrity will not win you friends or help you achieve success. It will reflect poorly on you, and staff morale will take a hit as a consequence – creating even bigger problems. Once you’re armed with the right tools and mindset to handle it effectively and positively, you will no longer fear this aspect of your role, you will embrace it.

Don’t micromanage

Micromanagement is the bane of the employee. Nobody wants to feel their boss is breathing down their neck and watching their every move as they try to complete work tasks. Take a step back and allow your team to manage their own work loads. If you have set clear expectations, then they should be able to follow your lead accordingly. Accountability is a balance and too much authority and domineering will not be taken to kindly. Micromanagement is actually linked to lower productivity levels.

Don’t reward mediocrity

Have you ever started a new job in a new company excited to jump in and get everything done only to see others around you doing the bare minimum and still being rewarded? The extra mile of effort might have gone unnoticed and unappreciated, and when that happens star employees lose motivation very quickly and tend to lower their standards to match the rest of the team. By rewarding mediocrity with bonuses and positive feedback, you are letting the lights fade on your real talent and facilitating the opportunity for people to become complacent and lazy. That’s definitely not good for business!

Do set clear standards, goals and objectives

Clear expectations are paramount to the functioning of your team and business. If your employees don’t know what to be accountable for, how can you hold them accountable? Be precise about the goals and objectives of your business and the individual goals and objectives of each employee, and set up specific responsibilities and performance standards.

If your standards slip then it makes sense that performance will slip too, so don’t let that happen. If performance is dropping, communicate with team members to inform them what is not acceptable. Be consistent every time and let someone know the first time something happens. For example, if an employee is late to work mention it to them that morning – don’t allow it to continue on for days before saying anything. By then, they will already think you are okay with it and it will result in confusion when they’re suddenly held accountable.

Do follow up

Don’t allow your words to become empty and lose meaning. After meeting with an employee to address any issues, make sure you let them know you will be following up – and follow through! Set the date in your calendar for a follow up chat immediately after the meeting and check in with the employee. Failure to follow up will ultimately devalue the reasons you were meeting with them in the first place and make it seem unimportant. Get through the hard conversations and be respectful, and you will find you have a team that respects you and gets the job done!


Peter Thomas, CEO of Stockdale & Leggo and Industry Pioneer