Leadership Tip of the Week
In most organizations accountability is a hollow and empty slogan.
Don’t allow that. Instead, create an environment that supports people to be clear and honest about what they will deliver and encourages them to do what they say. Empower people to rise above challenging circumstances and overcome obstacles so that they can = substitute excuses and justifications with relentless action that achieves clear results.
Don’t allow accountability to mean: “Deliver or be punished!” or worst “Deliver or get fired!” Also, don’t refer to accountability as “Single throat to choke!”. That is an undermining label. It puts people off.
Instead, make sure people view Accountability as a privilege and opportunity, not burden, obligation, and liability. Make sure people are not afraid of it. Accountability should live as a self-proclamation: “You can count on me!”
Make sure people are engaged in setting the goals early on. The more people feel engaged in setting the goals the more they will feel a sense of personal ownership and accountability toward them.
Promote a culture of open, honest, authentic and courageous communication. When people feel they can speak their mind, especially addressing what is not working they tend to naturally gravitate toward feeling and behaving like loyal owners of the business.
Instill the language of accountability as the norm. Don’t let people indulge in excuses, justifications, blame and reasons why things can’t be done or why they didn’t get done. Instead, drive clarity of action. Have people make clear requests and promises. And make sure these get responded to with clear and authentic acceptances, declines or counter-offers.
Deal with failures, mistakes, and shortfalls in an empowering way. When a team underperforms or fails don’t look for someone or something to blame. If you do that people will react by hiding, protecting their behinds, even lying. You won’t get to the root cause of your failure and you will find yourself repeating the same failures. Instead, focus on learning from your failures and correcting the issues. Ask your team questions like: “What was missing?” “What was in the way?” and “What can we change, correct and improve?” People will be excited to contribute to the investigation and as a result, they will come up with great solutions. Also, this approach will strengthen people’s sense of ownership and accountability to your vision.
Highlight, recognize and celebrate displays of accountability. People respond extremely well to genuine recognition. They will feel noticed, appreciated and valued and that will cause them to want to do and contribute even more. Go out of your way to recognize small, medium or large displays of ownership and accountability. Make it a daily routine and practice.