but we agreed you’d be doing this…

I was talking to a leader recently, and she stopped me with an epiphany: 

I’m just basically doing their job for them. 

I keep asking them how they are doing, but the reality is I need to ask them to bring things back to me when they are done. 

You see, she was doing all the accountability work, instead of letting the team leader be accountable.

If you are motivated by plans, schedules and getting stuff done and you’re really comfortable with DOING, then this probably sounds familiar. 

You know you can probably do it faster, better and get exactly the result you want. 

But that’s not why you’re a leader, is it? Instead, you need to switch to a culture of accountability. And what does that look like?

Accountability happens when everyone in the team feels responsible for what the team delivers. When everyone is committed to the same goals, they know what they need to do, so it’s much easier to keep them accountable.

It’s true that accountability starts with YOU. The leader. And you need to be prepared to hold people accountable. But where we often go wrong is that it doesn’t rest with us. 

We are responsible for putting the accountability structures in place + guiding people to stay accountable.

And from there we need to move accountability to the team, so that everyone feels responsible for the outcomes, whether things go well or not.

One thing that makes it easier to hold one another accountable is clarity.

There are a whole lot of reasons why we don’t hold one another accountable, but when we introduce CLARITY, that has the power to take away many of those reasons. It makes accountability easier, more straightforward.

You can easily have an accountability conversation:

We agreed you’d be doing that and you’re not, which means we are behind schedule.

Your team is not doing what we agreed they would which means we may miss the deadline.

Your role was integral to seeing this project through and you nailed it.

And all that goes hand in hand with being comfortable with feedback: giving it and receiving it.

Someone in my Mastermind said that culturally we’re not encouraged to give feedback. And it’s true. We get so uncomfortable receiving feedback, that we can’t imagine someone being comfortable receiving it, whether positive or negative.  But we need to role model this for our teams and let them know we want them to hold one another (and you!) accountable.

We need to strengthen that feedback muscle. Giving positive feedback is one of the most positive things you can do. 

So I want to leave you with an invitation: this week I invite you to catch people doing the right thing. Explain the impact of their actions and how it fits with the organisation’s goals or value (or both!). Then see how that impacts both you, the recipient and your broader team.

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