Do Less, Gain More Employee Accountability

By Anne Warfield, February 23rd, 2016

There is a strange phenomenon I find among leaders–they are often causing their own greatest problems by trying to do something nice.  

I often see leaders who realize their workers are over taxed and so the leader steps in to help out.  Seems admirable on the cover but unfortunately it often has dire unintended consequences.

See the brain works in patterns–it learns a pattern and then uses it to remain on task and to be fully accountable to those results. You step in and take over one step in that pattern and unfortunately the other person’s brain often then let’s go of all accountability and starts operating at a lower level.

Let me give you an example to illustrate what I am talking about:  My children have been doing the dishes since they were about  6 years old.  They load the dishwasher, wash the counters and table, sweep the floor and in the morning when the dishes are clean they unload them and put them away.  A very established routine which they have gotten quite good at since they are now all over the age of 15.  So we are talking about a process that has been imprinted in their brain for over 9 years.

In the last year I have taken to getting up, having coffee, making them breakfast and then going up to work out.  As I am downstairs making breakfast I have gotten bored so I have started to empty the dishwasher and put the dishes on the center island for them to put away rather than waiting for one of them to come down an unload the dishwasher.  Funny thing has happened–if I don’t unload the dishwasher, they don’t empty it and put away the dishes.  Instead they rinse and stack their dishes by the sink.

Now we are talking about ONE small change in the routine–me taking out the dishes rather than them– but it has completely disrupted their brain’s ability to assume accountability.  Instead they transferred that to me (if Mom hasn’t emptied the dishwasher than it must not be ready to be emptied) rather than keeping it with them.

So before you step in make sure you are not disrupting a routine and transferring accountability.  Notice how 9 years of a routine got completely out of whack with less than a year of me stepping in.  Keep accountability with employees and just start helping them with how to create routines they own and follow.

This Can Be Causing You A Lot More Work

By Anne Warfield, February 16th, 2016

Typically I find that leaders tend to focus on managing down.  This philosophy causes your brain to do many things that actually create more work for you as a leader.

It causes you to:

1. To be accountable as the knowledge and answer source.  The problem with this is you can then become a bottleneck as projects, opinions and ideas all begin to feel like they should be run through you first.

2. Feel accountable for HOW people do things and you can stop the creativity of the group.

3. Become a Mother Hen who is now responsible for making sure everyone on the team is okay.

Reverse this trend by shifting your belief from “managing down” to “managing up.”  This means you are now a STRATEGIC TOOL that your team can use in order to accomplish what they need to but they still own the accountability.  You will find you will create a team that is more self accomplished, interactive and can work well with or without you present.

In our Platinum Program I watch leaders switch to this philosophy and suddenly they find their time is now free to be more strategic and less tactical.  If you want leaders who can think, speak and execute like the C Suite check out how we can help you do that.

When An Employee Fires You As A Leader

By Anne Warfield, February 10th, 2016

I have fallen in love with watching the show The Profit.  I love how Marcus focuses on three simple things–people, process and product.  In one episode an owner had almost all his employees turnover on him within 5 weeks.  As the owner stood there blabbering about why each person left, Marcus just stopped him and said,“You do realize you were just fired by those employees.  Why doesn’t that bother you?”

It is easy in leadership to see the otherside of the fence when you want to coaching or even fire an employee.  Rarely do we stop to realize that really the only way employees can tell leaders what is wrong is to wait for a company survey or to finally get fed up and leave.

Take Action:

Rethink each time someone has left your team and ask “why did they fire us?”  Follow these thinking steps to understand and then change the situation so it doesn’t happen again.

  1. Look closely at what is the root cause–is it you or the company?
    1. If it is you, look at what is the problem–are you tough to deal with? are you too emotional? do you lack systems?  are you not consistent? are you not dealing with some negative employees and thus the positive employees are deciding they don’t want to work there?
    2. If it is the company, look at- is pay fair compared to the marketplace? Are work conditions safe for employees? do policies allow leaders to individually reward or treat employees the way they want? is there anything unethical going on?
  2. Commit to change.  Let the employees know what has been wrong and how you will change it going forward.  For example,”It has come to my attention that I am asking you to deliver consistent results and yet I am not giving you consistent written directions to follow.  That is not fair and I commit to change it today.  So from now on, when I give out instructions I am going to have one person write them down.  We will make sure they are clear to follow and then we will type them up so we can all follow that process.  Any change that gets made will be communicated to all and will be changed in that document as that will become our guide. My apologies for not doing this earlier as I am committed to helping make it easy for all of us to achieve success consistently.”

Now employees know what the change will be and how they will fit in to it.

Personal Message from Anne Warfield

By Anne Warfield, September 9th, 2014


Anne Warfield, CEO

Anne Warfield

Wow! Here it’s almost Fall and I am sending my first born off to college and the others are preparing for back to school. To me, it is funny, to think that we spend all these years putting knowledge in to children’s brains and less time helping them build better pathways to deal with conflict, challenges and obstacles that will naturally come their way.

Did you know that your brain learns best through failure? You know we would never think about stopping a baby from learning to walk no matter how many times she fell because we KNOW it is possible to walk.

With obstacles, challenges or conflict you run in to you need to build, for your brain, the confidence that it is POSSIBLE to solve this easily. You want to believe the best intentions and then hold people accountable for living up to those best intentions. This means you call them out when they act in appropriately as you assume their intent is not to act out at you but instead to try and protect themselves.

Today’s situation is all about dealing with that person who walks over others and can make you feel like mush.

By the way, if you work with many people like this, I encourage you to look in to our Managing Your Message Session (there is one in September) so you can get a better grasp at how to message things and manage that person or look in to our Executive Coaching which will focus on helping you build the Executive Presence you need so that you can manage the atmosphere every time you enter a room or a conversation. It is like bringing in your own serenity blanket!

Enjoy the Fall and all the changes it brings. Just like our kids, we should always be putting ourselves back “in school” to make sure we mold, stretch and align our brains to make sure we mold, stretch and align our brains to better deal with an ever changing world.

PRESS RELEASE – Anne Warfield Receives Best in Class Speaker at PCMA

By Anne Warfield, May 28th, 2014


Congratulations Anne! Your content and presentation of the session, “Strategic Negotiations: Bring Your Ethics, Integrity and High Character to the Bargaining Table” at the 2014 PCMA Convening Leaders in Boston was very well received and received great feedback – earning you the title of Best in Class!

We would like to extend to you the opportunity to participate in PCMA’s Best in Class program! Your acceptance places you in this elite group of speakers for a 22-month period, expiring on December 31, 2015.

What is the Best in Class program?

Each year upon the conclusion of PCMA’s primary meetings and after extensive review of the session and speaker evaluation results, PCMA Headquarters provide its Chapters a list of only the best speakers for consideration to present at Chapter events. PCMA has 17 Chapters in North America, including one in Mexico and two in Canada.

— The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA)

Learn more about Anne and her Speaking Topic’s