There are three things that can erode your personal accountability and how you appear to others within the organization and in your personal life.
The first is when your actions don’t align with your words. If you say you’re going to do something, then you need to do it. People need to know that you’re responsible. People need to know that you will come through, that you are accountable for the commitments that you’ve made. And when people see that, then they are naturally going to want to be accountable to you. They are going to want to be sure that they will fulfill their promises, to show up on time, to get the reports done on a timely basis.
It’s critical that our actions are in alignment with what we promised, with the words that have come out of our mouth. And when we do that, then we know we’re not going to erode our personal accountability.
The second thing is when leaders feel that they don’t have to follow the same system or the same rules that everyone else in the organization follows. You see as leaders, if we create our own rules, our own procedures, then we lose accountability and the faith of those people around us. Are we better than them? Are they not up to our standard? Why do we get a special set of rules? I think it’s critical that we know these systems. That’s first of all that we know the systems that are in place and that we follow those systems and that we show everyone that we’re not above any system, rule or regulation within the organization.
It’s critical to maintain that because then, we show everyone that we want them to work at the level that we’re working and we’re willing to work at the level that they’re working.
And the third thing that you can do to erode your personal accountability is use excuses or justifications to support your choices. We all make choices. At the end of the day, when you strip away our money, our clothes, all of our material possessions, our home, our car, our family and our friends, the only thing that we truly own are the choices that we have made in our life.
When we don’t have to make excuses for those choices, when we don’t have to make justifications for those choices, then we are living an accountable life and we are showing the people that are around us that we are accountable for our choices, that we’re going to make good choices that will be based on our values and that we will stand behind them. Sometimes that’s difficult but when we show that we are accountable for our choices and we don’t use excuses and justifications, we’re not eroding our accountability.
Avoid these three traps and you’ll be living an accountable life and be an accountable leader.