There are a lot of leaders and aspiring leaders who hear me talk about accountable leadership, and who really want to make accountability a reality in their lives and in their workplace, but find that they can’t. Typically, this is either because there is someone above them in the hierarchy who simply isn’t receptive to the idea of true accountability coming from the top … or because the person at the top doesn’t even realize what accountability is. Specifically, the leader doesn’t recognize that he or she is undermining the leaders below every time a decision is made that conflicts with the organization’s stated values.
Here’s a little reality check: When it comes to accountability, there is a high preponderance of leadership that thinks they’re getting it right, but they’re not – because they don’t yet know what getting it right looks like! And even when they are shown what getting accountability right can look like, and deliver for the organization, they may not believe that they can do that! This is, unfortunately, a recurring pattern in today’s workplace. It’s a major problem.
So. To all the aspiring leaders who find themselves “handcuffed” by someone higher-up in the organization when it comes to accountability, I want to pose a question: Is it possible your best move now is to find somewhere else to work – somewhere you can feel truly proud of working?
With unemployment so low right now, this could be the perfect time to make a change.
I realize everyone’s situation is different. I realize not every career decision is easy. But I also recognize – and maybe you should, too – that every situation is up to us to respond to, and every career decision is ultimately ours to make, and no one else’s. Familiarity can be both a blessing and a curse. If familiarity keeps us in a job that is no good for our self-esteem, not helping us to grow, not helping us to learn and contribute, then familiarity a curse.
There comes a time in each person’s life when it really does make sense to draw the line and move on to the next opportunity. Let’s face it: The real reason so many organizations lack accountability is twofold: sometimes companies don’t fire unaccountable people fast enough … and sometimes people don’t fire unaccountable organizations fast enough!
If you find yourself in a workplace where commitments aren’t kept, where the values are stated but not lived, where accountability from the top is low and likely to stay low no matter what you do, maybe the time has come for you to draw the line. Maybe you will want to consider saying, “You know what? I need to stop doing this and start doing something new.”
You don’t have to work for leaders who don’t care.
You don’t have to work at organizations where accountability is absent.
You don’t have to dread going to work.
You really can start loving your job, start loving leadership, and start loving the people you work with.
If you’ve been considering this question for a while, here is my challenge to you: Take advantage of an employment market where you are likely to be in demand. Don’t be complacent. Start looking for the right position now. And start writing the next chapter of your life.
Start writing the chapter where everyone on the team, starting at the top, makes and keeps the kinds of commitments that deliver accountability, such as the commitment to tell the truth, the commitment to make your word your bond, and the commitment to stand by the members of the team when all hell breaks loose. If that’s not the kind of workplace you’ve got now, change the workplace – because it’s the kind of workplace you deserve!