If we’re leading a team, we need to start that change in thinking by defining accountability for ourselves. Let’s define accountability as “keeping our commitments to people … starting with me keeping my commitments to you.”
I believe most leaders know what’s right. They know they have an inner voice that consistently points them in the right direction. They just don’t always listen to that voice.
Why do we tune out that inner voice? Why do other considerations sway us? Quite frankly, when things aren’t right, I find it’s because we’re focused on money first, and people second — or not at all.
I run into a lot of leaders who mislead themselves — without realizing that’s what’s happening. Here’s how they do it. They say things, like “My people aren’t creative – we need to get a creativity expert in here to talk to them.” Or: “My people aren’t great problem solvers – they need to get better at problem-solving. Go find me a program that will help them improve their problem-solving.”
Here’s the disconnect. Nine times out of ten, the problem is not with the team. The problem is with the leader!
It’s really very simple, if an organization’s culture was really an accountable culture then sexual misconduct could not persist. And, while it probably wouldn’t happen in the first place, at the first sign that sexual misconduct reared it’s ugly head it would be cut off and eliminated in an instant.
When a leader freaks out and starts changing things their people are intensely affected. Inconsistent leadership creates an environment that is full of distractions for the people they lead. When the people are distracted they cannot focus on the purpose, mission and tasks at hand for the enterprise. Great leaders stay steady and they know exactly what to be steady about.
When leadership is indecisive it has a profound effect on the people they lead. Leaders want their employees to bring innovative new ideas and possibilities to the table. The ability to consistently receive those new ideas is based on the consistency that leadership takes in encouraging and embracing the new ideas.
Second only to its people, the culture is the most important asset an organization has. The values are determined by the leader which shapes the culture and environment that produces a successful positive climate to work. Whatever the leader tolerates in the culture will become the norm.
Organizational values teach, “how we do things here.” Organizational values teach the boundaries of an organization. Organizational values provide the guardrails that you must stay within.
It appears that Google has a handle on defining, teaching and living the values. As a matter of fact Google is well known for their values and the impact the values have on creating their unique culture.
This is the problem with leadership today. Leadership is never about the leader. Leadership is always about the people who are being lead. This means that the idea of “self-leadership” is really a total falsehood. You can’t lead if you don’t have people to lead. And, if you have people to lead, people you are responsible for, then it is always about them.
It is critical that you communicate with your team through the Terms of Change. When you provide this vital information then you are transparency and you create trust. Change then is just a decision.