Ehstoday 3789 Cuttingvegetables

Accountability - the Good, the Bad and the Balanced

Oct. 16, 2015
When preparing your personal and professional leadership goals, consider the good, the bad and the balanced in terms of accountability.

Make no mistake about it, accountability in leadership is an essential ingredient in the seasoning that flavors every successful company on the planet. The proportion of accountability in relation to everything else in the recipe determines if your blend is organizationally exquisite or if it causes those who taste it to cringe.

Accountability in its purest form is a good thing. Ideally, it crafts a sense of direction, purpose and achievement. The issue is often that we as leaders do not perform a self-check on the amount and type of accountability we are levying upon our organizations. Key factors to success in this area are awareness and sensitivity about how much is too much or too little and when the formula is just right.

A bad mixture of accountability encourages your organization to quietly revolt and initiate a blame game culture because there is too much or too little of a good thing.

In the case of too much accountability, fear is king and denial is queen. When both fear and denial rule, the empire is destined to fall to paralysis, inefficiency, bad news sheltering and obscurity about what is actually happening.

In the case of too little accountability, entitlement is king and ineffectiveness is queen. When these two rule, the empire is also destined for failure due to hot potato passing, rumor mill building, missed commitments and ultimately loss of customer confidence.

A balanced mixture of accountability encourages your organization to self-impose it. Eager hands will raise on their own, claiming responsibility for undesired process outputs, for missteps, for strained customer relations and resulting loss of business.

A balanced mixture is good for an organization because it allows team members to make mistakes and to learn from them. A balance mixtured of accountability also encourages the unilateral sharing of lessons learned and fosters continuous process enhancements.

Achieving the right mix requires keen leadership focus on identifying opportunities to coach and mentor. The ideal formula requires a higher level of awareness that there is a bandwidth of balance ultimately needed to reach maximum efficiency.

There are two common types of accountability: Externally-imposed and self-imposed.

Wall Street is an example of externally-imposed accountability. In fact, Wall Street is a reactive accountability delivery device. It is the entity that has no enforcement authority within the corporate veil, yet it is bestowed the highest levels of the influence by the entities whose performance it monitors.

Demanding customers, company leaders and colleagues are also examples of externally-imposed accountability delivery devices. While externally-imposed accountability drives performance and is an integral ingredient for business success, it alone will not encourage the creation and sustainment of high performance teams.

Self-imposed organizational accountability is a major milestone for effective leaders in this regard. There are few leadership accomplishments that can top the infusion of self-imposed organizational accountability where all team members positively accept responsibility for their work and consistently meet each other’s commitments.

When preparing your personal and professional leadership goals, consider the good, the bad and the balanced in terms of accountability. Explore how you can ignite and spice up the team in the same way a master chef creates an amazing dining experience time and time again.

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