Is Accountability the Key to Success?
"Accountability is about taking responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions and in turn, igniting our potential."
~ Imagemakers International
Over the past 18 years, the one question we've been often been asked is: "How do I get my people to be more accountable?" To answer that question, we would have to begin by asking their leaders how they actually define accountability. Having done so, the definition varies considerably from one person and one organization, to the next.
So what does accountability really mean and is it the key to success?
From our perspective, accountability is about taking responsibility for one's thoughts, feelings, actions and outcomes. It's about discovering who you are, building trust and cultivating respect and in turn, taking yourself and your life to a whole new level.
Here are a few more insights, that may help you achieve those goals:
1. Recognize what being unaccountable vs accountable looks and sounds like
People must appreciate that being accountable is not about fault or blame. Those who makes excuses or blame the past and/or other people for who they are and what they can and can not do, often see themselves as victims of circumstance. If you're someone who finds themselves asking questions like, "why do these things always happen to me?" or "who's to blame for this" or making a statement like, "it's not my fault that...", you may be living an unaccountable life . And if you are, you are holding yourself back from reaching your full potential.
By contrast, when you do take responsibility for your life and your actions and become accountable, you take yourself to a much higher level. When adversity happens, begin instead to ask questions like, "what can I learn from this", "what can I do differently next time" or "what internal resources do I have to overcome this?" When you do, you become a victor rather than a victim and this is key to reaching your full potential, building self-respect and earning the respect of others.
2. Do your part to inspire a learning culture.
The old school of leadership presented accountability from a fear-based perspective. ie. admitting a mistake meant "you're in trouble, you're wrong or worse case, you're next." How can anyone be inspired to learn from their mistakes when shame, embarrassment and a diminished human spirit is the outcome? Genuine leaders inspire a learning culture by approaching accountability from a much more human perspective. They help their people understand that making a mistake is not the end of the world, but rather an opportunity to learn and grow. The result: the individual's dignity is left intact, role models are created and innovation and creativity are unleashed. It only takes one person to set this example and when nurtured, it will begin to transform both the individual and the entire organization.
3. Bring out the best in others and reap the rewards.
One of our seminar participants recently told us that he'd had ten executive assistants in as many years. What does that say about him? Well, it's not what you think. When a mistake was made, he encouraged them to acknowledge it and said, "Let's fix it, learn and move on." As a result of his actions, he brought out the best in others and helped his people shine and guess what? Each of them did move on - they were all promoted and in very short order.
4. Demonstrate personal accountability so that others can follow your lead.
"Show me, don't tell me", was always one of my father's favourite expressions. Genuine leaders are wise to follow this advice and must lead by example. To be effective, they must ask themselves three important questions:
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©2014 Kimberley Richardson - Imagemakers International. All rights reserved.
Kimberley is an inspirational speaker, seminar leader and executive coach. She inspires people to become genuine leaders and in turn, the kind of person others are inspired to emulate.