Why is Accountability So Hard?

by | Oct 3, 2022

As we discussed last week, leaders rank holding people accountable as their #1 weakness and the thing they hate doing the most.

And yet according to research cited by business coach Bill Watkins,

91% of employees feel that accountability is one of the most important things they’d like to see.

What gives?

The disconnect may be in how accountability is being presented to the agents you’re managing.

Accountability and responsibility can’t be mandated—they must be activated.

How is it activated? Bill recommends following these three steps:

Ignition. This means igniting focus and performance by setting a clear course and aligning what you and your team members both want —through measurable, individual, and contributing goals.

Trust. This means trusting your people to meet objectives and control their outcomes in the ways they know best, based on their experience, skillsets, and talents.

Feedback. This means providing regular and helpful feedback and celebrating progress and initiative. Good feedback exposes growth and learning opportunities along the way and encourages those you’re managing to stretch into new responsibilities.

This is important work, but it’s not easy. It takes proactive thought, focus, and attention to detail.

Maybe that’s why we resist it so much.

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