An Elegant Accountability Practice for Today

Leaders often ask about ‘holding people accountable’. What they sometimes mean is, “How can I pressure resistance into compliance and still be a nice person?”

Accountability increases resistance when it’s coercion wrapped in cotton candy.

Being ‘held accountable’ sounds like working at gunpoint. It doesn’t have to be that way. Accountability isn’t arm twisting.

Leadership quote: Accountability increases resistance when it's coercion wrapped in cotton candy. Image of cotton candy.

Elegant accountability:

#1. Practice personal responsibility.

Make yourself accountable to…

  1. Know, respect, and maximize the top strengths and talents of everyone on the team.
  2. Focus on the welfare of others. Accountability makes you a tyrant when you don’t care for people.
  3. Bring vitality. Team energy hinges on the interactions you have with people.

#2. Leverage aspiration.

Shift your thinking from external coercion to internal drive.

High performers love being held accountable. They enjoy achievement. They look for weight to carry. Responsibility means work matters.

#3. Use a simple elegant practice.

One of my clients occasionally CC’s himself when he emails the supervisors he leads. He files his copy of the email in his follow up folder.

His team knows when he CC’s himself he’ll follow up with them in the near future.

If you use the CC-method:

  1. Do it for yourself. You lose credibility when you don’t follow up.
  2. Explain your strategy to everyone.
  3. Always follow up when you CC yourself, always.
  4. Don’t overuse the CC-method.

Holding people accountable in healthy ways makes work meaningful.

Still curious:

Mastering the Art of Creating Accountability

How to Hold People Accountable

Cotton candy image comes from A Person Holding a Pillow