Accountability Gets A Bad Rap

Oversight is very popular, and obviously necessary within the workplace.  Accountability seems to be less of a mandate, and that is a problem.  The only way to engage yourself, employees, and/or customers is to combine oversight and accountability. accountability

I’m not sure when accountability fell out of fashion, but a lack of accountability equates to lost employees, lost profits, lost vision.  I’m talking about accountability on every level. Are you being honest with employees about the job they are interviewing for and/or the culture of the company?  Are employees working within a dynamic that they operate knowing win or lose people at every level of a decision making, or production making process will be held accountable? Is the organization showing appreciation for those exceeding the bar? Are people being both rewarded and held responsible for both the good and the bad? You get the picture.

Accountability seems to surface during conversation that are wrapped within something that may or has gone wrong.  This is where it gets its bad rap.  Regardless of whether or not your organization is engaged in accountability, it is impacting you.  Best to stay ahead of the curve and implement it on a level that makes your brand, product, and workplace more attractive to both employees and customers.  Doing so will show a return on investment.  Not doing so will create a people, product, and paid loss.





accountabilityAccountability is the base of business, leadership, friendship, etc.  The challenge within it can be very real.  Two thoughts on leaning into accountability:

1.)  Know that the lens you look through changes, and be aware that impacts   accountability as well. Revisit what you need to address throughout your life.

2.)  Accountability goes beyond you.  You model and support your business’s culture, your team, your friends, and show leadership by showing others your commitment and integrity through your commitment to holding yourself and others accountable.

Accountability can be challenging because it is not always easy holding yourself accountable, nor is it always popular holding others accountable.  You will often need to do a gut check and pick your path.  Are you traveling the path of popularity, or the path of integrity.

Leadership vs Ego

How do you know if you are a good leader?  Step one, lead without ego.  I just saw “ego is not your amigo” somewhere.  First I laughed, and then I thought how true, and how unfortunate more of us don’t realize that.

Ego can not only get in the way of your success, it can block your talent overall.  If you are more interested in if you are going to get or are getting the credit, than actually getting things done, you have an ego issue.  The problem with ego, is it spins into all kinds of unattractive behaviors which in turn will lift the veil on your “leadership” or more likely the lack there of.

Once people get a whiff of your ego, they’ll write you off as inauthentic.  Once people sense it is about “you” rather than “we” they’ll drop their level of engagement.  We operate in a very ego driven culture; subsequently, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that approximately 51 percent of employees are unengaged, and 17 percent are actively disengaged.  That is significant, and obviously a huge drag on productivity.

Einstein said it best, and I’ll leave it at that…


Your Lens

What lens are you looking through? If you are talking about bringing people into your community to live, or engaging people in their work in your company, are you looking through your lens or their’s?  If you’re not sure, just look at your results.

I once consulted to an international nonprofit that focused on advocacy, education and change through action. They had all the tools they needed. When I look at their progress today I see clearly other organizations focused on the same or similar causes have ‘lapped’ them.  Why?  Because they are looking through their lens, not the lens of those they want to engage.

If you want to reach your goal, and if that goal involves engaging others, the path to sustainable success is meeting folks where they are, not where you wish them to be.

Good Advice, For Good Managers

I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin.  This certainly isn’t the first quote of Godin’s that has surfaced within the blog posts on this site.  While Mr. Godin is all about marketing, his thoughts expand far beyond just that topic.

I promise you, if you read his posts and/or books you’ll pull great information from them, and find them relevant beyond marketing. Godin’s work will contribute to building upon your current skill set, regardless of your field and/or focus.

The quote below, I believe, is a great piece, reminding managers and leaders of all sorts, that the goal of the organization, is greater than the goal of the individual, or heaven forbid, the individual’s ego.


Leadership Defined

I attended an event this morning for a foundation’s 10th anniversary.  Each table participated in the breakout session, assigned with a specific topic.  My table’s topic was leadership.  Everyone around the table was asked to share how they show and facilitate leadership and had already been asked to share something recent they are proud of.  The last woman to speak at the table said she wasn’t really a leader in any way.  Ironically it was she, who for me, is the one that showed the greatest leadership.

The last speaker at the table shared what she was proud of, prior to sharing she wasn’t really a leader. She shared, very authentically, that she is proud of addressing the issue of caring for her mother in a manner that made her self manage her own fears, expectations and projections and come to a place of acceptance and positive forward movement, along with a positive outlook with the entire new dynamic she was facing with her mother.  She perfectly articulated and is modeling every quality a good leader has.

Leaders are not defined by a career path or vocation.  We all know or have experienced people in management positions who are not good leaders.  Leaders are those who can self manage their needs and their ego, placing the greater goal, be it professional or personal, in front of their singular vision.  She is a leader.

Ratty Transgressions

There are all types of very important, official sounding words to describe group/team conflict dynamics.

We can talk about proportional or perceptual conflict, but what it all boils down to on most occasions when conflict goes from productive to toxic is what I like to call “rats in a cage conflict.”

“Rats in a cage conflict” is the scenario when there appears (real or not) to be more work and less time for those within the dynamic to get it all done. Basically, scarce resources, primal instincts equal turning on each other. The result is the dual ratty transgressions of finger-pointing and off-loading responsibilities. A simpler term is “drama.”

The key to resolution is within the observation of the dynamic and workload as a whole. As noted above, the fall out can come from a scenario that is perceived and not real? How? Burnout and even stress can skew our outlooks. We fail to appropriately address and manage our time. For instance, recently someone shared they don’t have enough time for all that is required of them. Upon further evaluation, turns out he does have enough time, the time however was not being managed well. Often just the stress of the known combined with the unknown timeline of when the flood will abate is enough for folks to disconnect from appropriate time management skills, and the downward spiral begins.

Perceived work versus actual work can be two very different things. When our time management component snaps due to misperception, the toxic fallout will spread to additional employees and the dominos begin to fall.

So how do you address the situation?  You can address it in several ways.  Time management resources help, continued communication helps, accountability helps, and planning helps.  If someone is overwhelmed have them map out their duties and time management plan.  Boom, whining goes away and you can identify if the problem is real or perceived.

Arrow SIgns - Not My Fault Shifting Blame

Action Trumps Ongoing Discussion

Action trumps ongoing discussion.  Think about the issue, have a meeting or discussion to find the best course of action and then move on it.  Failure to pull the trigger and then relapse into ongoing consensus and meetings is the path to an ongoing loss of productivity and ROI. Be active, be accountable.


Avoiding Conflict, The Abilene Paradox

There is a dynamic that seems like a smooth path, but leads to bumpy results – the Abilene Paradox is this dynamic.  So what is the Abilene Paradox?  It is when healthy debate and outcomes are foregone in place of conflict avoidance.  Basically it is putting consensus above positive outcomes and productivity.

Interestingly, the Abilene Paradox can leave a group with an outcome that no member would have recommended on their own, and not in a good way.  The path of the Abilene Paradox leads to pluralistic ignorance and obviously that is no good for the individual participants, group or organization.

abeline paradox