212: How to Hold People Accountable Without All the Drama with Jennifer Long

The Business of Meetings – Episode 212 – How to Hold People Accountable Without All the Drama with Jennifer Long

We are thrilled to have Jennifer Long, the CEO of Own Up®, joining us today. Jen is a certified master coach and the author of the #1 Amazon bestselling book, OwnUp! How to Hold People Accountable Without All the Drama. 

Jen is an expert in setting up accountability practices within organizations, which has been invaluable for companies seeking tangible improvements. In our conversation today, we dive into leadership, accountability, and guiding principles for psychological safety. Jen also shares many concrete and actionable tips you can apply directly to your business.

Stay tuned for more!

Jen’s Mission

Jen’s mission is to revolutionize accountability by removing the pain, suffering, worry, and anxiety associated with it. For her, accountability is all about walking the talk, showing up, and meeting clear expectations without fearing punishment or discipline. Through her work, she aims to clarify that accountability is not about consequences but rather an act of clarity and kindness. Her mission is to help people understand that accountability is a practice centered around clear ownership and expectations, fostering a more positive and productive work environment.

Navigating Workplace Accountability and Discipline

For workplace accountability and discipline, it is crucial to understand the difference between discipline and punishment. While discipline can be constructive, punishment often leads to defensiveness and hinders productive discussions. Taking a constructive approach rather than punitive measures is the key to fostering accountability without repercussions.

Fostering Psychological Safety

Creating a psychologically safe environment is essential for fostering productive disagreements and open dialogue within teams. Team members should feel comfortable asking questions, sharing their opinions, and challenging ideas without fear of judgment or criticism. This type of environment encourages problem-solving and effective conflict resolution.

Emotional Intelligence and Self-Reflection

By helping team members align their behaviors with company values, leaders can promote accountability and facilitate constructive conversations within organizations. Effective accountability practices require emotional intelligence and self-reflection from leaders, making it essential for leaders to clarify their expectations, actively listen to team members, and create spaces for open dialogue.

Journey to Clarity Through Dialogue

Finding clarity in accountability involves framing discussions as opportunities for problem-solving rather than focusing solely on criticism. Active listening, looking for feedback, and creating a safe space for expressing opinions and concerns are crucial elements for fostering understanding, promoting trust, and encouraging continuous improvement.

Cultural Sensitivity in Communication

Respecting different communication styles is crucial for creating an inclusive environment to encourage accountability and collaboration. Leaders need to understand the cultural nuances and varied communication styles within diverse teams. By balancing empathy and directness based on individual and cultural preferences, leaders can help to promote effective communication and build trust.

Parental Influence on Accountability

The impact of upbringing on accountability is significant, as it shapes how well people can take responsibility and communicate effectively, which are crucial skills in personal and professional life.

HACCP Principles and Accountability

The HACCP principles play a vital role in fostering accountability within organizations. Those principles include acknowledging human error, avoiding blame fixation, understanding contextual factors, promoting continuous learning, and emphasizing effective leadership responses.

Mindset Shift for Performance

Shifting the mindset around accountability is crucial for improving performance. This involves moving away from punitive measures and focusing on continuous improvement and team development. Addressing unrealistic expectations and perfectionistic tendencies is essential because they can hinder progress.

Delegation Challenges

Delegation can be challenging due to the fear of tasks needing to be completed perfectly. So it is essential to focus on team development and critical thinking skills rather than expecting perfection in every delegated task.

Advice for Small Business Owners

Small business owners should prioritize personal accountability, set clear expectations, foster open communication, and understand accountability as an ongoing process. This approach will help build trust and productivity and will foster a positive work culture within the organization. Small business owners must remember accountability is about continuous improvement and learning from mistakes rather than assigning blame.

Bio: Jennifer T. Long

Jen Long is a Certified Master Coach and the CEO of OwnUp!®, a leadership and team development company providing coaching for leaders and managers across various disciplines. For nearly four decades, she has worked with leaders of every stripe, from newly minted managers to seasoned vets of the C-suite. Jen is the author of #1Amazon Bestseller book OwnUp!® How to Hold People Accountable Without All the Drama. Safe to say there’s no leader to whom Jen won’t shoot straight or let them off the hook. Simply put, leaders must lead. Jen helps them get out of their own way so they can get stuff done and focus on what they do best. As a Certified Master Coach and Master Trainer, Jen has helped countless leaders master essential management, leadership, and team skills, earn the respect of their employees, and perform at a higher level. The methodology behind OwnUp!® elevates the idea that conversation and relationships are prime movers of impact and culture.

SOCIAL On the side, Jen co-hosts the Organizational Transformation Kung Fu podcast with executive coach and co-host Sandi Verrecchia. You can listen to OT Kung Fu at otkungfu.com or wherever you find your podcasts.

CERTS She’s also an ACE Certified Coach, a GTCI and EMCC Certified Team Coach has been an Official Member of the Forbes Coaches Council, continues to be a member of the International Coaching Federation, and, like a great coach ought to be, she’s certified in a whole bunch of cool and helpful assessments that give you the kind of perspective you need so you can dig in to make the changes you want.

CLIENTS Her clients include the likes of Tucson Electric Power, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Maiker, ADA Carbon Solutions, Ametek, Canon, Ricoh, Caterpillar, MGM, Brown University, Vivant Solar, Shell, H & E Equipment, Northrop Grumman, Avangrid, Huntington Ingalls Industries, N3B, Newport News Shipbuilding, Dartmouth College, Brown University the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment among others.

Connect with Eric Rozenberg

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Connect with Jennifer Long

On her website

Email Jen: JenLong@own-up.com 


Jen’s book, OwnUp! How to Hold People Accountable Without All the Drama is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or most anyplace else books are sold.


Eric Rozenberg