Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Contagious Commitment

I recently read a blog post by Greg Steely that summarized leadership as 
Courage + Commitment = Contagious

Essentially, if as a leader you are courageously doing all you can to lead and are fully committed to relationships with your followers, then these values will become contagious. However, I think one thing is missing from this equation: 
Without accountability, our natural tendency is to play it safe and slack on commitments. 

Accountability is not a very well-liked word, especially in business settings. It often evokes images of employers monitoring their staff's computers, requiring that time logs be filled out, and rigorously reviewing employees every quarter.

That description assumes a lack of trust and "Big Brother" feel. What I believe leaders need to implement is openness. And openness requires trust and vulnerability. What are some things that leaders and employees need to be open about? 
  • Where: Where are you headed, and what are your goals? What is it that you want to accomplish? Make sure you set S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely).
  • Who and What: What do you need in order to accomplish your goals? This can be resources, help from others, personal development, time, etc.
  • How: What is your action plan? Once you know where you are headed and what you need to get there, you must address how you are going to get there. 
  • Why: What progress have you made (or haven't you made) and why? As you're working through your action plan, what progress have you made? What areas are lagging behind, and why? Don't just diagnose issues, uncover the whys.
What are you committed to?
It is important for leaders to honestly answer these questions along with their employees. It's a two-way street. By assessing what is and is not being accomplished will help leaders see bigger patterns of work, relationships, and how things actually get done. Also, it's important for leaders to understand how they can help their employees be as successful as possible. Without asking these questions, leaders cannot recognize what connections, phone calls, or extra time could be of most use. 

And accountability does not just apply to work. In your life outside of work, what are your goals? Who do you want to become? Without regular discussions with a close friend, you'll most likely push to the side the necessary actions that will get you where you want to go. 

Accountability is about naming the actions that are important to you, and having someone be invested in your success along side of youThat doesn't sound "Big Brother-ish" to me. It sounds encouraging. 

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