Recently, I was asked to give a talk on accountability and an associate’s initial reaction was, “why would anyone come to a talk about that?” His reaction, though not atypical, made me smile and think. Has accountability become a foreign concept? What does it mean to be accountable? How is this competency impacting your leadership or your performance efforts? It is an important topic given its impact on success.
Why do people tend to shy away from accountability? My thought is that it sounds a lot like blame. Let’s define accountability according to Merriam Webster: “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.” As a leader it also means to hold oneself and others accountable for high-quality results that are measurable, timely, and cost-effective.
It is not unusual to find avoidant type of behavior in leaders and teams particularly around accountability. It is almost as though accountability has become a four letter word. Many leaders see it as conflict or confrontation and would rather do anything else. Allowing others to hide or point fingers when responsibilities are not met will tear apart a team. It takes strong leadership to shift that experience to one of appropriate accountability.
Doing the Hard Work of Leadership: A few years ago high school football coach, Matt Labrum, (more…)