Create Better Accountability for Yourself—Now!
As leaders, we tend to think of ourselves as being pretty responsible and disciplined about our responsibilities and performance. But while it’s sometimes more doable to hold our teams and direct reports accountable, we can sometimes overlook the importance of doing the same for ourselves, particularly with all we’ve got to manage and do. Lots of leaders struggle with this—it happens all the time. Sometimes they assume they’re meeting what we at MAP call “Vital Factors,” or those key measures of company performance and health. But then when they take a closer look, they’re actually missing the mark to some degree or another. As a leader yourself, it’s important to hold up that proverbial mirror on a regular basis. Make it a habit to check in on your own progress whether you’re doing it on your own without help or via an accountability partner. The key is to do it—period—and be consistent and honest with yourself as you carry out this critical leadership practice.
Here are several ways to do this:
Make the commitment. When you’re truly engaged in something, you naturally focus better and almost always achieve a greater outcome. But sometimes things are getting in the way of that commitment. So do an assessment to figure out what’s in your way (including your own reluctance to change). Consider all the aspects—physical, mental, emotional, etc. What challenges are in your way and why? Determine this first to get to the root of what’s preventing your accountability success, then resolve to change. Make that commitment to formally engage in the accountability process and the change that’s required.
Create your accountability plan. Identify your goals and strategies for success, writing it out, sharing it with a trusted colleague, mentor or advisor, and then make it a living document, not allowing it to collect dust on the shelf. Use it daily to check in and see where you stand relative to the goals and strategies you’ve established. As we talk about in MAP’s latest book, “The Disciplined Leader,” having this plan will be the catalyst for your success—it can make all the difference in the world between your professional accountability fulfillment and failure.
Support your success. Start making choices that will enhance your odds of accountability success rather than undermine and detract from it. For example, when you choose accountability partners with whom you share your plan, make sure they’re the right people. Pick those who truly believe in your potential, want to see you succeed, and who won’t be afraid to check in on you and ask you driving questions from time to time, particularly when you’re struggling or needing a bit of coaching. The same goes with your staff…make sure you’ve got the right people on board, those who will embrace your efforts to change and who won’t fear what it might mean for them. Also, enlist the help of other resources if necessary. If you need to take a class, get new time-management tools, or hire a coach to ensure you’re remaining accountable, view this as a vital investment in your success as opposed to some extravagant “expense.” The payback will be worth its weight in gold as long as you’re choosing the right resources for the accountability support you need.
In what ways do you struggle with holding yourself accountable?