"Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result." Bob Proctor
The most challenging behavior to master with regard to harnessing the human element is getting you and your team to embrace accountability. This has several layers of meaning that need to be extracted so that you understand what I mean by accountability. Certainly, it means monitoring and holding your people accountable for their KPIs or performance objectives but it also means being vulnerable as a leader as well as getting your team to be vulnerable around behavior dealing with team performance such as admitting mistakes, needing help, or just saying sorry.
Accountability is Hard!
It is not by accident that embracing accountability is not often written about. I won’t sugar coat it, this is the hardest behavior to master. In fact, statistically, this is the biggest challenge that leaders face over all the other behaviors that they need to develop. We all tend to get uncomfortable with the idea of calling someone out for a behavior or a performance issue.
If you are like most of us (and I mean most of us) you are not going to want to hold that team member accountable for negative or non-productive behavior. Rather you will probably make note of it during your meetings or say something in passing to others on the team or in your department. Regardless of how you try to spin it this is indicative of a lack of respect as there is nothing respectful about withholding information from a peer that could help them improve their performance.
Accountability is Affirming
The biggest affirmation you can give your team or staff is to hold them accountable. If you think about it from a personal perspective wouldn’t you want to be told that something you were doing or not doing was not only noted by your peers but was impacting their ability to do their jobs as well?
This will date me a little, but concerning walking in that mutual vulnerable trust let me use this old adage – “Only your friend will tell you when your fly is open or your slip is showing.” As difficult as it may seem, the idea of holding each other accountable for behavior that impacts the team has to be done and is one of those indicators of a strong and cohesive team.
Accountability is Respectful
Once you have your team tracking their own metrics around their performance you must hold them accountable. What that does NOT mean is walking up and looking at their charts tracking their metrics and tearing them "a new one." What is does mean is asking them to show you how they are doing, getting them to explain the highs and the lows (something they will want to do given a safe environment), and by asking them what their plan is to improve the problem areas they have identified. You can also keep the door open to them should they decide they need help - but let them tackle their issues first. A healthy team will come to understand that truth and embracing accountability will come easier as they practice it. It is ultimately the highest form of respect.
No, it never gets easy, just easier, and once you have experienced working on a team that is cohesive and healthy and that practices embracing accountability you will wonder how you ever managed to get things done any other way. And what’s more, it will be rewarding, enriching, and fun! It's all about tapping into that "Hu" element. How accountable are you and your team? Performance Leadership – Think About It!