I’ve met a few people who said they enjoyed being held accountable. To say I’m a bit skeptical about anyone truly enjoying accountability would be an understatement. I don’t believe anyone really likes it.
But here’s something else I believe about accountability… every single person I’ve ever met performs at a higher level when they are accountable to someone or something.
Leaders who truly care for their people hold them accountable. They hold them accountable to help them reach their potential. They key word in that previous sentence is “help.” The goal of accountability is to help people. To help them grow. To help protect them from the destructive pressure of procrastination by replacing it with the constructive pressure of accountability.
If you’re a leader who feels it is more important to be liked by the people you lead then it is to hold them accountable, then you’re a leader who has a fatal flaw. You may care about your people but you’re not demonstrating that you care for them. It is likely that you are attempting to manage your people rather than lead them. That too is a fatal flaw, in fact, it is the most fatal of all leadership flaws.
All leaders care about their people. They want them to show up for work, they want them to follow directions and they want them to accomplish whatever tasks are in their job descriptions.
Authentic leaders care for their people. They show it by helping them become all that they can. They show it by believing in their people even when their people might not believe in themselves.
Lessor leaders see holding people accountable as something you do TO them. Authentic Leaders know holding people accountable is something you do FOR them.
If you’re a leader who is allowing your people to produce mediocre results then that’s all you will get from your people. If you’re a leader and the people you lead are producing mediocre results then it’s overwhelmingly likely that you are a mediocre leader…or worse.
The good news is, you, and your people, can grow out of mediocrity.
Great leaders all know that holding their people accountable to accomplish ALL that they can is one of the kindest and most leader like things they can do. Their people may not understand that as they are being held accountable but when they look back on their success they quickly figure it out. Even if they don’t want to admit it.
If you have the audacity to call or even think of yourself as leader then you must help your people achieve all that they possibly can. You don’t do that by being buddies or besties, you do that by believing in them and by helping them believe in themselves.
That’s the goal of accountability!
7 thoughts on “The Goal of Accountability”
You have wonderfully adumbrated the attributes of a leader. Accountability is one of the biggest traits of a leader. Alas, it is rarely displayed.
Thanks, I’m not sure I’d say rarely but you are correct, we don’t see nearly enough accountability these days.
Really good insight. ‘Help’ is supposed to be the natural way of doing things and in a way expect to make it a way of life, however that exists not as much as it is required, in businesses as well as beyond businesses.
That’s absolutely true, and it kind of seems like there is less “help” around than there used to be. But together we can fix that! 🙂
The self satisfying tendency to be a buddy or popular “people leader” may turn out to be the biggest flaw coming in the way of achieving better performance – inculcating and ensuring accountability definitely spurs the teams performance.
Indeed, I’ve known very few people who liked being held accountable but I haven’t met anyone who didn’t perform better when held accountable.