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One of the things that I hear most when working with leaders is that they want their team to be more accountable. They may call it self-starting, responsible, self-sufficient, action-oriented or other words like that, but they generally settle on accountability as something they’d like to see more of on their team or in their business. Heck, I’ve worked with leaders wanting more accountability from their kids, or even themselves, and these principles that we will talk about apply there as well.
But to create accountability in any group or even any individual, we have to first define it in a way that we can execute against. What we know is that wishing our team or kids were more accountable isn’t all that helpful. Focusing on the steps we take as a leader to actually cause more accountability is very helpful, but we have to be sure the destination is correct before we start rushing toward it.
What often happens in leadership is that instead of building accountability, we simply react to the lack of accountability. Instead of helping people become more accountable for their thoughts, actions and outcomes we try to hold them accountable for what we believe to be failed outcomes. We turn a world like accountability, which can be a great way to live, work and become successful into blame or consequences that we issue and I don’t know anyone talking about leadership who says if you can blame, shame and punish more people more effectively they will become more successful.