Leadership Accountability

Carrot on a stick

Image by Ben Sutherland via Flickr

Generating accountability for leaders can be a challenge. Often we confuse reminders with follow-through. We get so caught up in our own actions that it becomes difficult to see that our team is struggling to generate action amongst themselves. This could be because we believe that once we have reminded someone to do something that their own intrinsic motivation will kick in and take over. This is often not the case though. It is very hard for people to do things that they do not want to do. Look at the obesity epidemic in America. Everyone knows that the secret to slimming down is to eat less and exercise more. How many people follow through on these simple steps? Leaders can start to generate accountability through taking action with their teams. Mark Sanborn discusses this accountability dilemma further below.

Helping people be accountable is more than identifying what they need to do; it is about clarifying what needs to be accomplished.

Clear outcomes can often be achieved several different ways. We tend to be too rigid about the means and completely miss the end. For instance, in the example above, the objective wasn’t running, it was fitness.

Structure your efforts around the end goal, and involve the person you’re working with in determining the “how.” Giving them an active role in creating the process will engage them and create a greater sense of ownership.

…More at Leadership Accountability: Holding or Helping? | Sanborn and

Everyone has goals and new years resolutions this time of year. Goals are a healthy and natural way of accomplishing tasks and making meaningful progress in our lives. Goals and resolutions often fail however because we do not associate a goal with a particular benefit. Leaders can help their teams link benefits with their work goals. It is very important for the human mind to have some driving purpose and a goal without a benefit can be a challenging task. For example, lets say you give your team a project to retool the user interface of the dashboard for your member portal and do not give them a reason or benefit to doing so. Without the why behind the project, it is difficult for your team to see the purpose of the project. Telling them that by retooling the UI you can enhance the clicks on extras that will improve the bottom line by 4% and boost the year end bonuses greatly enhances the motivation behind the task. Leaders need to be able to generate accountability which can be a major challenge.

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