Everyone, and I mean everyone, does better when they have accountability in their lives. When we know we will be held to account, for a budget, for a timetable, for a goal we’ve set, or for any particular outcome, we are far more likely to put serious effort into achieving that outcome.
It seems to be human nature.
But there is a problem with accountability as well.
The problem with accountability is when you as a leader hold your people to a level of accountability to which you refuse to hold yourself. You expect more and demand more of your people than you expect and demand of yourself.
It’s pretty easy to hold other people accountable. It’s not so easy to hold ourselves as accountable as we hold everyone else. It’s FAR easier to have principles than it is to live by them. It is far easier to to require others to have the discipline that we only wish we had.
But here is where the real problem comes in: your people will do what you do far, far faster than they will do what you say.
When you hold your people to a standard higher than you hold yourself, you destroy their morale and you destroy your credibility. When you destroy your credibility you also destroy your ability to actually lead because people cannot follow someone that they cannot trust.
Authentic Servant Leaders do not have one set of standards for themselves and another, higher set of standards for their people. Authentic Servant Leaders know that they are the model for successful behavior and they act and talk the way they want their people to act and talk.
They do the things required for success so their people can see success in action.
Nothing destroys morale faster than being held to a high standard by a person with low standards. Don’t hold others accountable to a standard to which you refuse to hold yourself.
Leadership requires that you do the same things you would have your people do and it requires that you do them first. That’s why it’s called LEADING!
Accountability can lead directly to superior outcomes when and only when the accountability starts at the top. If you as a leader are not able to hold yourself accountable then don’t expect to be able to hold others accountable either!