We often frame accountability in light of what should happen to other individuals or organizations after the fact – after they’ve made a bad choice or acted irresponsibly or dropped the ball. In reality, a significant aspect of accountability is whether or not others are able to count on us.
Can our team members count on us? Is our performance consistent? Do our actions support our words? Do we help figure out a solution, or do we just complain about the problem? Here are five accountability actions that every leader should live out.
- Don’t be a victim. Remove the negativity and questions that frame the situation outside of your control. Instead of asking, “Why don’t they fix it?” or “Why is this happening to me?” ask “What can I do right now to help solve this problem?”
- Adapt to change. “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” isn’t the best mindset when approaching change. Instead, consider how you can adapt to the changing needs of the organization and react with a sense of urgency.
- Own your role in communication. Communicating effectively is everyone’s job. Instead of worrying if you’re being understood, focus on understanding the other person and how you can help them meet their needs.
- Take action now. Procrastination results in lost time and productivity. Hold yourself accountable to meeting deadlines. Take care of the little things while they’re still little.
- Don’t shift blame. Blame shifting is a pervasive and counterproductive mentality that flies in the face of accountability. It creates fear, destroys innovation, inhibits teamwork, builds walls, and prevents people from engaging. Instead of shifting the blame, focus on solving the problem.