In order to hold people accountable in an effective manner, leaders need to create an environment where people feel safe to be coached, to receive feedback, and to give it. This is a huge step in the process and will take some heavy-lifting by all involved, because it will first and foremost require us as leaders to proactively ask for feedback and to be willing to receive it. We need to be the change we wish to see.
Second, we need to role model the importance of receiving regular coaching ourselves. We need to be coached as well as to coach. If we are strong enough to receive feedback and be held accountable through coaching and supervision, then we can start to build a safe environment for accountability.
However, the subject of holding people accountable in a successful manner begins long before the actual accountability moment takes place. As leadership happens between the words, it is the same with accountability. Accountability starts before the moment of accountability takes place.
In short, I agree with Roger Wagner and James K. Harter, PhD in their book, 12: The Elements of Great Managing, Gallup Press, 2006, when they wrote, “Before a person can deliver what he should as a manager, he must first receive what he needs as an employee.... One of the most fundamental needs of a great manager is . . . a great manager.”
This week, be a great manager!