Kris Taylor publishes an interesting and actionable blog on the various and tricky aspects of change management and her topics sometimes overlap my own; one of those topics is accountability. My notion is that accountability is one of the most consistently misunderstood leadership concepts and is frequently mishandled or even avoided. Whether mishandled or avoided, either way bad things are likely to happen, so handling accountability well is a must if you are to be a great leader and inspire great followership.
Kris examined the performance of her people and reported the results in her blog. Interestingly, 18% of those charged with an identical task failed to do what was required. Take a look at this breakdown of that 18% and keep the concept of accountability in mind:
- 10% simply failed to perform – no explanation, no discussion, just an absence of appropriate action.
- 5% complained, giving all the E & E (Excuses and Explanations) they could think of and pleading for more time.
- 2% expected someone to fix the situation for them. I can’t help but wonder if they thought Mommy was going to show up and make everything nice.
- Finally, only 1% failed to perform and also “took their lumps,” taking full responsibility for their failure. Just 1%!
Is any of that like members of your team? If so, how do you handle the situation? Do you get red in the face and yell? Do you accept excuses? Do you avoid the conversation altogether?
Fully Alive Leadership Principle #4 is critical to assuring a culture of accountability: Deal With Conflict. Too often, though, we think of a conflict conversation as a combat encounter. That leads to those red faces and yelling or the complete avoidance of a very necessary conversation, all of which produce bad results. The trick is to deal with conflict in a constructive way. That is what Principle #4 is all about.
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