Accountability is a key part of your tool kit as a leader.
The Online Business Directory defines accountability as “The obligation of an individual or an organisation to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.” In other words, disclose your achievements to those who have entrusted you with their capital. Be it financial, social, human, or personal. We owe it to specific people to demonstrate our stewardship, our effort, and of course, our outcomes.
Imagine the shift in your leadership when you switch from “I have to be accountable to these goals” to “I get to be accountable to these goals.” Just that one word shift can change the way you are engaged in accountability.
Accountability has three core elements:
- Clarity – When you know what you want you can be purposeful in moving towards it.
- Visibility – When others know what you want there can be shared appreciation.
- Activity – When you know others know there is a sense of energetic interdependence in doing your part.
I prefer an extroverted form of accountability. Going public then not letting my network down. What I’ve noticed is when I ‘pay’ up front, I am more motivated to both put in the effort and extract the value. I hate wastage and I hate not living up to my promises. My yes is my yes and my no is my no. Because my gym charges me weekly I divide that cost per number of sessions I go to, aiming to be a good steward of my money and time. There is now a small group of friends I have there and we EXPECT one another to turn up regularly. Even more accountability. I’ve paid my writing coach for ninety days of editing and coaching and if I don’t use it he gets to keep the time AND the money. My investment has motivated me big time. Be a good steward, demonstrate effort, be proud of the results.
How do you need to do accountability so it motivates you?
When you have clarity, visibility and activity you get three magical gifts from accountability.
- Clarity and visibility give you focus. Knowing what you want and seeing it become a reality.
- Clarity and activity gives you traction. Being able to be purposeful about use of resources.
- Visibility and activity allow for encouragement. When others know they can cheer you on.
Author S. J. Scott lists seven benefits of accountability in his book The Accountability Manifesto.
- Accountability gives you better performance under evaluation.
- Accountability allows for honest feedback from others.
- Accountability expects you follow through on your commitments.
- Accountability establishes firm deadlines for tasks.
- Accountability keeps you grounded in reality.
- Accountability helps you learn from the success and failure of others.
- Accountability prevents little problems from becoming big problems.
Making the shift from a ‘have to’ mindset when it comes to accountability to a ‘get to’ mindset changes the way you lean into and put in the effort in order to reach your goals. I’m learning to love accountability, it gets me to move forward and further, faster. I hope you can too.
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.