Monthly Archives: January 2013

Leadership & Self-Accountability

Over the past 50 years, there has been an increase in the emphasis on ‘people-focused’ leadership styles.  Many have interpreted that to mean that we shouldn’t discipline or hold people accountable, that we should only give praise and never correction, that we should encourage but never  be firm with individuals. That kind of thinking is wrong!

People-focused leadership is successful as it provides training, encouragement, praise, and holds individuals accountable for their choices.  And the first person a leader holds accountable is herself. If a leader looks inside her own heart and mind, identifies ways she needs to improve or mistakes she has made, and actions needed to resolve the situation, as she holds others accountable, it significantly improves others willingness to receive correction positively.

To hold ourselves accountable, I would suggest at the end of each day a leader conduct a brief self-assessment by asking these three questions and write the answers in a daily journal:

  • What did I do today that was not as effective as it could have been?
  • As I worked with others, what comments, facial expressions, or body language did I observe that was not what I expected?
  • What do I need to do tomorrow to repair these?

As you do this, it will not only identify specific actions you can do to repair the situation, but it will make you more aware of what you do and how it impacts others.  By becoming more aware, it will empower you to change your actions and words to create a positive effect the first time!

What other ideas might help us to hold ourselves accountable?

Giving Specific Communication

When I was eleven years old in Des Moines, Washington, I would go to our small community library to check out a couple of books. One time, I found this book about a young boy who wanted to be a journalist. It looked interesting so I checked it out. As I read it, the boy learned that a journalist answers five ‘W’ questions with each and every article – who, what, when, where and why.

As we communicate information to others, this is a good formula to make sure we are being specific. Some examples of those questions are:

  • Who is involved, who made the decision, who does this apply to, who is working on it, who do I need to talk to
  • What are we doing, what is going to happen, what has happened, what is it, what  limitations do we need to know
  • When did this happen, when will it take place, when does it need to be operating, when will supplies (or equipment) be available, when will we report or follow-up
  • Where is this going to be used, where do the materials come from, where are others who will be involved, where are we going to do the work
  • Why is this important, why was I chosen, why do we need this, why not use an alternative approach

As we ask and answer these basic questions, we communicate more specifics.  As we are more specific in our communication, there is more clarity and transparency in our own minds, as well as, the minds of others.

Do you have an experience where a lack of specifics led to confusion, failure or frustration?