In a world of high expectations and extraordinary outcomes, an unwillingness to hold people accountable can be a reflection of low standards.
Are your standards high enough to hold people accountable when needed?
Peter Lencioni, author of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team describes accountability as the willingness to call people on things that matter.
It's the willingness to shine a light on actions and behaviors that are counterproductive to the overall good. This is challenging when the light of accountability needs to be shone on a peer, especially when the peer is another team member, analyst, executive, board member, vendor or spouse. When taken alone, the ability to consistently hold people accountable seems to require the intestinal fortitude and courage that only the Wizard of Oz can provide.
Yet holding people accountable is rarely done in isolation.
Holding people accountable is usually part of a concerted effort. Accountability is often only one part of what's in play to get results. High standards and a commitment to the greater good often work in tandem to drive accountability. Sometimes the desire to hold firm to high standards is the burr in the saddle that can embolden and enable you to demand accountability.
Once the intention to hold people accountable is set, drive accountability into the conversation and ultimately into action in constructive, repeatable ways that reflect your personality and style.
When you operate in service to the greater good and in ways that play to your strengths, the wizardry to drive accountability radiates from inside of you. You are all that's needed!
Leaders can hold people accountable as part of the environment they've created and fostered that consists of trust, unfiltered conflict and a commitment to hearing everyone out as a means of unifying around a decision. Some leaders drive accountability by embedding it into the process, requiring stakeholders to move beyond mere project status to gauging the likelihood of being on time, on budget and outlining associated dependencies, risks and mitigation steps. Still other leaders engender accountability by example, calling themselves on the carpet by acknowledging their own broken commitments, wrong turns and mistakes.
The next time you hesitate to hold people accountable, operate from your high standards and choose a way to drive accountability that works for you.
Leverage the Lencioni model and make sure you're doing your part to build vulnerability-based trust, foster unfiltered conflict and encourage the vetting of all ideas to generate buy-in and commitment. Be willing to shore up the foundation (even the strongest foundations wear down over time!).
Shining the light of accountability on the elephants in the room, when done for the greater good and in ways that reflect your best you, is a positive move.
High standards and the willingness to hold people accountable go together. Shine on!