We can only inspire accountability. We can never bring it into existence by demanding it. This is the Principle of Accountability. And the only way to master accountability is to change the way we think.
Accountability is not a way of doing. It is a way of thinking. Plenty of leaders talk about “holding people accountable” for certain narrowly-defined outcomes: getting a report done on time, hitting a performance target, taking out the trash, whatever. What they do not grasp is that these are transactional commitments. They are items people can put onto their to-do list and then check off. When we focus on the to-do list items, we overlook the relationship.
The real challenge for all of us is to begin approaching accountability as a way of thinking, and specifically a way of thinking about the people in our lives. Accountability is all about keeping commitments to people–and the commitments that matter most are not tactical, but relational. These are commitments like the commitment to tell the truth, the commitment to stand by people when all hell breaks loose, and the commitment to help individuals achieve their potential and be their best.
How do you master accountability? By fixating less on the to-do list…and thinking more about the long-term relational commitments you make to people. What are they? How committed are you to them? And how do they drive the decisions you make? It is following through these relational commitments, day after day after day, that builds powerful bonds, creates enduring loyalty, and inspires people to want to be accountable to you, the team, and the organization.
To find out just how accountable you are right now, and what you need to do next to master accountability in your world, visit AmIAccountable.com and take a free sixty-second personal accountability quiz.