Accountability is Reciprocal

“I’m going to hold you accountable.” This is what I hear many leaders say. The truth is that holding people accountable doesn’t work. That is a taskmaster / servant relationship. This relationship does not inspire people to choose to be accountable, to be their very best. Only when someone is their very best can your organization be its very best. A workplace where people are inspired to be accountable is an environment that will attract and retain the best people.

The nature of the workplace has changed. The work environment is no longer defined in physical terms, “these four walls”. People work from home or other locations that suit their needs and lifestyles. And traditional timeframes are also evolving. It’s not uncommon for someone to work in the evening because they needed to go to the doctor for a 1:00 appointment.

The leader who struggles with this transformation is going to struggle with the relationships with the people they lead and with the success of their organization. Leadership must turn their heads from watching the clock to watching results. How an individual achieves their results should not be as important as the results themselves.

When leadership installs cameras in someone’s workspace and installs software on computers to monitor use, all leadership is doing is to create a lack of trust. They are not inspiring trust in their people which makes it difficult to achieve greatness.

Accountability is reciprocal. People give what they feel they are receiving.

When people feel they are not trusted they are not going to trust you.
When people feel watched, they are going to watch you.
When people feel taken advantage of, they look for shortcuts.
When people feel valued, they deliver value.
When people feel liked, they return friendship.
When people feel loved, they return love.
When people feel cared for, they return care.
When leaders are accountable to their people, people return accountability.

If you cannot trust someone do not hire them. And the leader who says, “You have to earn my trust” has it all backwards. Do not hire someone you cannot trust and do not expect anyone to trust you if you do not trust them.

It is time to let go of past ways of thinking. The accountable leader looks to serve. How can you best serve the people in your organization? How can you best serve your clients? When you answer those two questions you position yourself to build deeper, more meaningful relationships. And a successful business is always built on strong relationships.


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