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Lousy Leaders Enjoy Swinging the Stick of Accountability

Lousy leaders enjoy swinging the stick of accountablilty.

Ineffective leaders might ask, “How do I hold people accountable?” Their real question is, “How do I pressure resistant people into doing what I want them to do?”

When leaders ask how to hold others accountable, ask them, “How are you holding yourself accountable?”

Effective accountability:

#1. Accountability is for people who row together. If you aren’t rowing in the same direction, accountability becomes threat and punishment.

#2. Hold yourself accountable before holding others accountable. Openly develop your leadership if you expect people to develop theirs.

#3. Focus accountability on personal growth and development that adds value to self, customers, and colleagues. 

Nurture growth in people that produces useful results.

6 steps toward accountable growth:

  1. Say, “Imagine you’re adding even more value to teammates and/or customers. What’s different about you?” (This question is for experienced, motivated team members.)
  2. What – new – behaviors might move you in the direction you want to go? (List three.) 
  3. How might you put one of those behaviors into practice this week?
  4. What exactly will you say or do?
  5. When will you put your new behavior into practice? Find daily opportunities to practice new behaviors. Avoid conversations that begin with, “I didn’t have a chance to practice my new behavior.”
  6. Let’s get together in a week to debrief. I’ll ask,
    • What did you do?
    • How did it work?
    • What did you learn?
    • What would you like to do next week?

Get started:

Begin holding others accountable by holding yourself accountable.

Switch the above conversation to the “I” voice. Go to a colleague/boss and say, “I imagine myself adding even more value to the team. The thing that’s different about me is …”

Go through the first five points. At the end, ask, “Would you ask me the following questions?” (#6.)

How might leaders up their accountability game both for themselves and others?

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