Ineffective leaders might ask: “How do I hold people accountable?” Their real question is: “How do I pressure resistant people into doing what I want them to do?” When leaders ask how to hold others accountable, ask: “How are you holding yourself accountable?”
- Accountability is for people who row together. If you aren’t rowing in the same direction, accountability becomes threat and punishment.
- Hold yourself accountable before holding others accountable. Openly develop your leadership if you expect people to develop theirs.
- Focus accountability on personal growth and development that adds value to self, customers, and colleagues.
Nurture growth in people that produces useful results
6 steps toward accountable growth:
- Say: “Imagine you’re adding even more value to teammates and/or customers. What’s different about you?” (This question is for experienced, motivated team members.)
- What new behaviours might move you in the direction you want to go? (List three.)
- How might you put one of those behaviours into practice this week?
- What exactly will you say or do?
- When will you put your new behaviour into practice? Find daily opportunities to practice new behaviours. Avoid conversations that begin with: “I didn’t have a chance to practice my new behaviour.”
- Let’s get together in a week to debrief. I’ll ask,
- What did you do?
- How did it work?
- What did you learn?
- What would you like to do next week?
Begin holding others accountable by holding yourself accountable.
Switch the above conversation to the “I” voice. Go to a colleague/boss and say: “I imagine myself adding even more value to the team. The thing that’s different about me is…” Go through the first five points. At the end, ask: “Would you ask me the following questions (step 6)?”
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