What is the first and most important commitment of accountable leaders? What do true Masters of Accountability always do?
I ask this question often, and I get a wide variety of responses. It surprises me how rarely people share the answer I am looking for: Accountable leaders are committed to developing their team members to their fullest potential.
That is their #1 priority. That is one of their “no matter what” commitments. That is what makes them Masters of Accountability: a commitment to developing their own people. Leadership is always, repeat, always, about the people you lead. It is about developing your people to be the best they can possibly be. If you call yourself a leader but you are not all-in with that commitment, you are in the wrong line of work.
There is a fascinating paradox at work here, however. We must start with ourselves. As accountable leaders, we cannot give what we do not have. That means we have to develop our own skills–so we can model and teach those skills to the team and the entire organization. We need to set meaningful development goals. We have to make a personal commitment to our own growth and development, not for our own self-aggrandizement, but as part of the larger organizational commitment to growth and development. That is what true Masters of Accountability do.
If we want to develop our people (and that is always our #1 responsibility as an accountable leader) then we have to develop the ability to understand what accountability is in our own world, and we have to make sure that we are living and leading with accountability consistently. That means figuring out where we are starting from, and coming up with a personal growth plan. So as a leader, we should have a personal growth plan for ourselves–and we should also be helping each of the people we lead to develop their own personal growth plan. Here are three simple steps that leaders who are Masters of Accountability take in support of these interrelated goals.
STEP ONE: Invest one minute in a Personal Accountability Assessment. You will find it here. This free assessment will give both you and your team members instant insights into those areas where your personal accountability is already strong, as well as those areas where there is room for improvement. This is the all-important first step in setting up the right personal growth plan: self-evaluation.
STEP TWO: Discuss what you have learned, and set a personal development goal. Clearly define where you want to be, based on the feedback you have gotten. Knowing where you are now, find out where you want to go next as a leader, and when you want to get there. Once you have done that for yourself, sit down with each of your people one-on-one and help them to set up a compelling vision of what is possible in their lives.
STEP THREE: Close the gap. Build a plan for getting from here to there, and start executing that plan. Your plan may take the form of a study group, or a book you choose to read, or an online course you choose to pursue, or any number of other opportunities for personal development. Choose one and build it into your weekly schedule. One powerful development option you and the members of your team may want to consider is the Pivot! course, which focuses on the three critical questions we all need to answer in order to become a more accountable leader, spouse, parent, family member, and friend.
Never forget: it is the commitment to develop yourself as a leader so you can develop your people that sets you apart as a Master of Accountability. That is what communicates to the team that you care about each of them as individuals and that you are loyal to them. That commitment to help them develop to their full potential is what creates unshakable loyalty from them back to you. So be sure you follow the three steps I have just shared with you. Commit to your own growth and the growth of your team, no matter what!