Accountability; the “Something Extra”…

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The Importance of Accountability in Leadership

If we want the kind of accountability we’ve been looking at to this point to have a cascading effect throughout our organizations, and to completely avoid being part of the current social status-quo of unaccountability, leading by example and holding our teams to high (but attainable) expectations is a must! I recently read an article called How accountability leads to successful management from that explained it this way:

“High levels of accountability, especially among leaders, builds trust within organizations. Knowing that their leaders will take responsibility for their decisions instills a high level of confidence in team members. Also, when leaders model this type of behavior for the rest of the company, it leads to a broader culture of accountability.”

As we build this kind of best-in-class accountability into our teams, there’s no doubt we’ll see it show up in our bottom line. When each team member begins focusing on performing to their individual best AND making sure that their efforts are truly in collaboration with everyone around them, those results are sure to make productivity - as well as profitability - spike sooner than later.

In a perfect world, setting the example and routinely reminding everyone about the target we’re working toward would do the trick. But since there’s just no such thing as that perfect world, we need to carry the weight that comes with leadership one more time… We need to help our team members define their own individual goals that they’ll be working to achieve and we need to invest time into making sure those goals don’t fall off their radar! This is no small order, but I can’t point to very many examples where the broad change I’m referring to here happens without investing substantial time and effort into it… A recent post on called Psychological Secrets to Hack Your Way to Better Life Habits emphasized it by sharing, “The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study on accountability and found that you have a 65% of completing a goal if you commit to someone. And if you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed, you will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.”

At the end of each lesson in our Emerging Leader Development course as well as in our Leading At The Next Level program, Cindy and I challenge participants to identify the one thing they can apply immediately. But we don’t let them off the hook there. We also press them to share that action step, as well as the result they’re hoping to achieve when they implement it, with their immediate supervisor or manager so they can have that sense of accountability and hopefully even collaborate with that person on successfully reaching that goal! In some cases, where the individual is looking for more direct support than the manager has time to commit, we work with them one on one through our Strategic Leadership Coaching model to help them define the actual behaviors they’ll need to put in place on a daily basis in order to turn their action steps in measurable results. In either case, be it through accountability to their manager or with me or Cindy, the individual has someone they can commit to so they can recognize that 95% increase in their chances for success through the process.

If we really want to break away from the trend of unaccountability that I believe led Mike Tyson to say that “Social media made y’all way too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it,” we need to take the reins in our respective organizations. I remember being with John Maxwell several years ago when he mentioned how few people ever do the work to exceed expectations. He said “It doesn’t take a lot more to be extraordinary, but it does require doing extra.” And that extra really boils down to accountability…