Recently I was searching for a business letter that I had filed away so safely, that frustratingly I couldn’t locate.
I could have reacted by: blaming others for moving it from the place that I was sure that I had stored it, giving up my search and hoping that it would magically manifest itself, or hope that the person requesting the letter would forget about it.
These methods might have worked, but an alternative approach would be to humbly acknowledge that the situation had occurred, forgive myself, and think about how I could learn from it and take action.
This alternative approach is what accountability looks like. It’s about not making excuses, but owning your situation and moving forward from it and it’s also about keeping promises to yourself.
Even though it makes perfect sense, some people still hate the word ‘accountability.’ Accountability can conjure up feelings like blame and guilt. It still reminds me of my secondary school head teacher, telling us that our motto should be ‘no pain, no gain’ during exam time. If it has negative connotations for you, you could just replace it with a substitute, such as: faithfulness, loyalty or commitment.
Think about your current leader. Are they personally accountable? Do they instil accountability in you?
Would people say that you take personal accountability? If so, are you as good at keeping your promises to yourself as you are to others?
Here are 5 tops tips on developing accountability, which are essential for you to lead yourself to success:
- Say Uncomfortable Truths – I was delivering some training on courageous conversations last week and the leaders that were taking part were worried about the emotional reaction that they might receive. This was holding them back from saying what needed to be said. Being accountable is about dealing with the tough stuff, and even be willing to hold meetings to discuss issues that others were too fearful to address.
- Seek Specific Feedback – Too often leaders say that they don’t get feedback and when they do, it’s vague. The quality of feedback that you receive is as good as the quality of question that you ask. Without feedback, it is impossible to judge if what you are doing is working for you and for others, find your blind spots and own your communications. When you have the feedback, you must be seen to act on it.
- Own Up – Not only are you more likely to reach your goals, but you will build positive and productive working relationships when you practice an accountable style. You may find that your personal relationships improve as well. When you take responsibility for your failures and admit ‘it’s my bad,’ you also earn the right to claim the successes, making you a happier person overall.
- Focus on Rewards – Focus on the benefits of you being more accountable. Accountability delivers peace of mind and a sense of control. By taking control, you can:
- Save time when you stay focused on solutions.
- Save money when you empower your team to find better ways of working.
- Gain respect when you humbly know your limitations and talents.
- Become better at time management.
- Reduce stress in your life.
- Speak it into Existence – When you make a promise to yourself, no one knows and so it is easy to forget it, delay it or tell yourself that it never mattered. When you tell someone about the promise, you immediately feel that you have to do it. Whether it’s a trusted friend or colleague, or it’s just updated LinkedIn status, publicly promising makes you a lot more accountable. Many people use a coach for this or join an accountability group.
Make a commitment now to be more accountable in work and life and let me know about the positive difference it makes for you and others.
Resources to develop your accountability:
WEBINAR: How to be Accountable in Work & Life – 6th July https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/webinar-how-to-be-accountable-in-work-and-life-tickets-42528278225 [45 mins]
ARTICLE: When we learn from failure and when we don’t https://hbr.org/2014/05/when-we-learn-from-failure-and-when-we-dont
EVENT: Art of Focus – 12th July 6-8.30pm Panel Discussion and Networking https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-art-of-focus-tickets-44975816879
EVENT: Creating Women in Business Super Conference – 9th July https://desoconnors.com/?ref=jennyg
EVENT: Life in Balance 2 Day Retreat,27-28th October https://www.jennygarrett.global/happenistaretreat/
ONLINE: Our Online Professional and Self-Development Programmes, have a secret Facebook accountability group connected with them [10 mins per day]
Happenista Project Step 1 https://www.udemy.com/the-happenista-project/
Happenista Project Step 2 https://www.udemy.com/happenista-project-step2/
Happenista Project Step 3 https://www.udemy.com/the-happenista-project-step-3/
QUIZ: Accountability assessment based on 16 accountability traits https://www.partnersinleadership.com/insights-publications/part-1-16-accountability-traits-great-leaders-embody-number-7-will-skyrocket-career/
BOOK: Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Box-Thinking-Surprising-Success/dp/B00WKWS4W2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530114883&sr=8-1&keywords=accountability