Leadership Accountability

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!   

You Are NOT a Good People Manager

imageDon’t feel bad, no one is a good people manager. It’s not your fault, it’s the peoples fault. People don’t want to be managed and people will not be managed.

Your fault lies in trying to manage people in the first place.

If you think you’re managing your people you are just kidding yourself, you may have beaten the energy out of them and forced them to comply but even that is not really managing.

While you can force compliance you can’t force what you really need from your people. You can’t force creativity. You can’t force commitment. You can’t force great customer service. You can’t force someone to value diversity. You can’t force someone to care. You can’t force someone to think a certain way.

But you can lead people to be creative. You can lead them to commit. You can lead them to care and to care enough that they provide your customers with outstanding service. You can lead them to care about other people, even people way different from them. You can even lead and influence them to think and behave in a certain way.

You can lead them to accomplish more than they ever thought possible but before you can lead anyone you must care. You must care about them as people, as human beings with real lives. Lives that matter every bit as much as yours.

You must care so much that your willing to show it. You must care so much that you’re willing to get out of your own comfort zone long enough and often enough so that your people will see how much you truly care about them.

When you lead people rather than trying to manage them magical things happen.

People who are managed are far more likely to display attitude issues than people who are led. People who are managed do what they are told while the people who are led have already done it.

People who are managed seldom grow beyond their job description but people who are led burst the seams of their job descriptions with regularity.

People who work for a manager produce the status quo. People who work for a leader produce the future of the organization.

If you want to continue with the “as is” them keep trying to manage your people. If you prefer a world of limitless opportunity and potential then give your people the leadership the crave.

Lead today and succeed tomorrow!