The Point: Have you ever sat in a meeting and heard the leader swear that from now on things were going to be different? How exactly is this “different” theme going to be carried out? Well, the leader swears again that they’re going to start holding people accountable. Accountable for what is one question you might be asking? Another question you should be asking is who is going to hold the leader themselves accountable? In this post, we’ll take a look at leadership accountability and provide five tips to better leader accountability efforts… Enjoy!
This Isn’t Oprah (It’s not even Ellen!)
I’ve seen a lot of leaders as an executive coach and leadership development coordinator. I’ve been fortunate to work with some really great leadership at Fortune 100 to Main Street organizations. Along the way on this leadership development journey, one aspect has rang the “failure” bell of many a leader looking to do good but ending up with bad results. That one aspect… Accountability. Accountability as a leader has at its core the ability to “count” on someone for doing something.
Too often leaders like their stakeholders to do what they say, but not as they’ve done (or are planning to do). In other words, some leaders are great at spouting off advice/hyperbole/recommendations to their stakeholders when all the while they should be heading their own advice. Unfortunately, Oprah (or Ellen) never show up in their workplace to ask them those really “hard” questions to get the leader to stop and reflect on what will/won’t work (You know those really hard questions… The ones that make you stop, think, and cry as you blubber out your response to Oprah).
5 Tips to Enhance Leadership Accountability
So what is our leader in development to do?(You are a leader in development, continuously learning, right?) What follows are five accountability tips for leaders searching to achieve better results:
Tip #5: Establish Expectations
It’s awfully hard to hold yourself/your stakeholders accountable if you don’t establish expectations. What are you going to do, by when, with what resources are expectation (or goal) setting basics. But begin to overcome the leadership challenge of accountability by beginning with the outcome, or the end in mind.
Tip #4: Determine Action Plans
As Marshall Goldsmith says, what got you here won’t get you there. However, if you know where there is and you don’t establish an action plan to get there you might as well not set out in the first place. Having an action plan that clearly establishes how you will get to your expectation outcome will provide you with a roadmap, one that if followed correctly and the current situation (market factors, competition, customer engagement, etc.) remains the same.
Tip #3: Identify Key Performance Indicators
You’ll need to know if you are to stay the course originally outlined, or pivot as needed to better overcome the situation identified. I know a leader that never measures his outcome until the end. They perceive the measurements to be some kind of leadership cherry on top of the sundae, when in reality it turns out being something a lot less savory. Knowing what your measurements are and taking them at routine moments can assist in letting you know where you are, how far you’ve traveled since the projects inception, how much is left to go, and identifying change in course moments.
Tip #2: Forget Hope
Hope is great when wishing for a gift to come true. It’s perhaps a deadly moment when it comes to organizational health. Simply put… Hope is not a strategy. As such, eliminate hope and the leadership challenge gets a lot easier.
Tip #1: Accept Ownership and Responsibility
You want others to follow you. You want to see things through. You’ll need then to roll up your sleeves and insure that the initiative gets done. While this doesn’t mean that you need to do every task associated (you should still look to delegate), it does mean that you’ll want to do everything possible to make certain the initiative is completed on time as expected.
In this post we looked at leadership accountability. The leadership challenge at hand can be a daunting one, but putting into practice the five tips discussed can greatly enhance accountability for both leaders and stakeholders.