Accountability Starts with “Me” Not “You:” How To Become The Anchor For Your Team
When you take initiative and responsibility, both the actions of the team and the results of an idea fall squarely on your shoulders. This kind of pressure requires you to combat an innate reflex for defensiveness and a penchant to make excuses.
Written by:Tara A. Collison, Ph.D.
When something doesn’t go as planned, it can be easy to point out the reasons why. Usually, this list starts with someone else—anyone else—but we believe the approach to accountability should always begin with “me” and not “you.” As a leader, taking ownership of accountability within your organization positions you as an anchor for others, which encourages accountability in those around you. So, try to switch up the conversation and look in the mirror before you peer out into the crowd.
How To Become The Anchor
What steps can you take to become an accountability anchor for your team? Here are a few that we find ourselves revisiting when we need a refresher:
- Create clarity within the team. Everyone should know exactly what the desired outcomes are, and you can ensure this by revisiting your goals often and actively listening to the thoughts and concerns of the team.
- Encourage members to ask questions, and provide as much information as possible so that everyone is on the same page.
- Consistently ask for and give feedback. Ask yourself, “What can I do better?” Make sure you’re listening to what your peers have to say and address how you can incorporate their feedback into your development as a leader. When asked, give thoughtful and specific feedback, even if it calls for an uncomfortable but respectful dialogue. Be liberal with positivity. The ultimate goal is to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable asking for and giving specific feedback on a regular basis.
- Address any setback immediately. The key is to call out the issue as early as possible and bring the entire team into a dialogue about possible solutions. This kind of involvement strengthens relationships and encourages accountability for fixing things.
Encourage your team to adopt the “me not you” attitude. Ask them to look at themselves before placing blame elsewhere. In doing so, you help to create an environment of reliable, self-reflective individuals.
End-to-End Ownership and Accountability
When you take initiative and responsibility, both the actions of the team and the results of an idea fall squarely on your shoulders. This kind of pressure requires you to combat an innate reflex for defensiveness and a penchant to make excuses. When we give attention freely and take responsibility for the work our team delivers, we’re often able to accomplish the following:
- Build trust
- Improve focus
- Produce better work
- Become better a decision maker
- Feel more satisfied with the end result of your work
- Increase motivation, cooperation, and performance within the team
If you are interested in reading more about accountability and the difference between knowing better and doing better, please visit our recent blog, Accountability: Bridge the Gap Between Knowledge and Action.