One of the topics that continues to dominate conversations with my coaching clients is accountability and how to drive an increase in accountability. You see, I coach a lot of C-Suite Executives, their leadership teams, and their Emerging Leaders (leaders in development for future growth!) to help them to become the very best leaders and managers they can be. Obviously, the more skill and confidence you possess in driving accountability, the higher the performance your team will demonstrate, right? So, I thought it might be helpful to do a blog that would serve as a primer on how to drive greater accountability. I hope you like the idea, and I hope the content is useful for you as you work to drive an increase in accountability in your organization.
Accountability Starts With You
Accountability is a choice we make. Take personal accountability or don’t, that is a choice you must make. Realize that you must go first and make an affirmative choice if you wish to influence those who follow you to do likewise. When your people make that choice, and decide to follow your lead, and make personal ownership of the team’s objectives and priorities their own, they immediately begin to engage more deeply and their performance begins to climb in a positive direction. Think of yourself as the conduit that leads to greater accountability in your organization. If you’re not willing to be congruent and conduct yourself in ways where you do what you say and deliver results consistently, why would anyone else? Of course! You need to go first and model the behavior and cultural conduct that you expect from others. Deliver it consistently and they will most likely join you in your cause.
Get YOUR Mindset Right About Accountability
It amazes me how many young and inexperienced leaders I meet who honestly believe that holding other people accountable is a sign that you’re a jerk or pushy or obnoxious. Before they learn the truth, often, these well-intentioned leaders actually believe that accountability damages the self-confidence of their people and the morale of their teams. Hogwash! The exact opposite is true! Accountability is a condition that leads to powerful motivation. Increasing the emphasis on accountability encourages everyone on the team to deliver their best work and to support and encourage the best work of their colleagues and teammates. Here’s the thing, nobody can give accountability to you, or to your team, or your department. You had to make up your mind that you are going to TAKE it! Make up your mind that you are going to do everything possible to invest in accountability and keep investing at every turn. Before you know it, morale increases as everyone learns that they’re not alone, and they begin to count on their leader and their teammates to continue to do what needs to be done.
Simplify By Creating Clear Priorities
Often accountability suffers because leaders over-complicate things and attempt to do too much, or too quickly. The most important thing in developing momentum is getting started, and then the second most important thing is to keep moving. You can facilitate that by thinking ahead and determining what the Most Important Results are that will lead to success. Communicate those clearly and repeatedly to your team. As you’re doing that, communicate the reasons behind your priorities, and the benefits that the results will deliver to individuals, teams, customers, and prospects. Armed with a good understanding of the reasons WHY we’re headed in the direction we’re headed, people can make a strong emotional connection to your purpose and your cause. Expect some resistance occasionally and DO NOT over-react with emotion when someone questions your priorities or your desired outcomes. Anticipate those questions and prepare to deliver clear and persuasive answers that spell out your vision for a better future. If the vision is clear, the resistance folds quickly.
Don’t Lack Courage And Character
It is easy to look good when the path is clear, the sun is shining and the wind is not blowing. However, we show our true character and our courage when things get rough. When the seas become choppy and the wind is threatening to capsize your boat, you show your crew whether you have the sailing chops to bring the boat into harbor safely. Stand your ground. Believe in yourself. Believe in your team. Believe in the right things. Don’t you dare give in to the temptation to be soft and give up when things get tough. Understand this. When you stand firm for accountability, you create the very conditions that lead to greater engagement, greater autonomy, greater mastery, and deeper commitment from your entire team. When the team understands and believes in the purpose, and sees how committed YOU are to your greater purpose, they will follow you to the ends of the earth.
What Do You Think?
What do you think? Are you one who wonders whether accountability is bad for morale? Are you intimidated by the idea that one of your followers may bristle under your holding them accountable for delivering the results the team expects from them? Don’t make a mountain out of a mole-hill. Get started on standing for accountability – let your day in and day out choices speak for you. Let your colleagues know WHY you believe what you believe. Let your team understand which hills you’re trying to climb, and more importantly, let them understand WHY we need to climb those hills and how much good will come from it.
Talk To An Experienced Coach
Michael Beach is an award-winning business advisor and Executive Development Coach. Michael is building a team of great coaches who can do incredibly valuable assessments of the current and future state of your business, and provide you with recommendations that you can implement yourself to take your business to the next level. Michael’s coaches are experts in developing leadership in young high potential individual contributors and in new managers who may be struggling. Invest in the future of your company by investing in your leadership and make accountability a non-negotiable in your organization and watch your business prosper quickly! Contact MBCC at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-335-4505 today!