When Accountability Slips, Here’s the First Thing to Do
It can be really easy to point the finger at your direct reports and other team leaders when noticing a lack of accountability in the workplace. But before doing that, it’s important to ask the tough question: Could it have something to do with you?
If you’ve established an accountability system in the past but have let it slip or find you’re not getting results, it may be time to look inward and explore what you could be doing—or not doing—relative to building and sustaining accountability. Here are some good questions to ask:
Have you truly made a commitment to accountability? Accountability isn’t just an activity. It’s a mindset that requires being open to ongoing change. Without this mindset and openness, you’ll quickly come up with ways to resist accountability. That said, the accountability mindset requires more than simply knowing accountability is a logical solution. It usually is born from a pain point—something you’re facing currently or have experienced in the past that now drives you to not just know but really understand that without accountability, your business and its bottom line will suffer. The question is: What will drive you to commit?
Are you exercising the courage to build and sustain accountability? People often fail to engage around accountability simply because they don’t want to risk failing at the effort in the first place. Others start on the accountability path, then when struggles surface (which they always do), they succumb to fears and fail to stay the course. But keep in mind, no one is without fears.
One of the best ways to get around or push through them is to recognized that tough times will happen, then honor your wins so you both minimize the power of fear and build confidence to keep progressing toward your goals. Over time, you can draw upon that confidence to manage worries and stay the course.
Are you setting realistic goals? It’s important to be truthful about what you can do as a leader and what your organization can achieve at this moment in time. Accountability often gets derailed when leaders set unrealistic goals or don’t accurately communicate expectations, roles and responsibilities around achieving those goals.
Look closely at the targets and benchmarks you’re setting or expecting of both yourself and others. Make sure they’re doable. This doesn’t mean you can’t dream, strive for extraordinary levels of excellence, and challenge yourself and your team, but you’ll find accountability more manageable if you set goals that are realistic that can be achieved.
Remember, it’s natural to struggle with accountability. Building good habits for your leadership and organization can be as challenging as breaking habits that no longer serve you. The great news is when you recommit to your system, have the courage and discipline to sustain it, and set the right goals, accountability can happen! Even better, the right approach leads to transformative, powerful results.
Ready to get your accountability back on track—and for good? Contact MAP Consulting today.