Holding people accountable might seem easy. It really is not all that easy. Even more challenging is to hold yourself in check.
What Is Accountability?
Being accountable is almost the same as being responsible. It is just a bit more precise in that. Not only is it a responsibility to get something in particular done but it has to be reported and checked off.
You are answerable to get it done or keep your word. The same is true in reverse. They are accountable to you.
Taken further, you are responsible to a higher power, Source or God – whichever word you prefer – for your life.
Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.”―
Why Is It Important To Be Held Accountable?
Ever so often, in fact, just about every person who has submitted such a form either has not read it properly or chose to ignore the criteria. Further, in conversation with them, usually, by email, such an individual is told that we expect them to be accountable.
It is often my impression that they either do not understand or have no desire to be held in check. However, we do not simply expect it, we demand it as we hold ourselves to a high level of accountability to our donors whose money we use to support our clients.
Accountability is about delivering on a commitment. It’s responsibility to an outcome, not just a set of tasks. It’s taking initiative with thoughtful, strategic follow-through. Peter Bregman, in Harvard Business Review, January 2016
How To Hold Yourself And Others Accountable
Often people avoid holding others in check, including their intimate partners, children and of course friends and other family members. They avoid doing so mainly to avoid confrontation, to be liked and/or they just do not know how to do so.
That is according to Shawn Doyle of New Light Learning and Development Inc. He wrote in an article on the topic that,
The only way to get work done by other people is if you set expectations and hold them accountable for results. It’s hard work requiring focus and clarity. It’s not-so-comfortable with difficult people, but accountability is an essential leadership competency. Here are six actions for holding people accountable.
Three Easy Ways
Here are three easy ways to not only hold others accountable but yourself also.
- Be Clear – even in an intimate relationship, especially at the start of it, you have to be clear as to who you are, what your expectations are and how you wish to be treated. Same is true when employing people or engaging with others on any level. “Clarity clarifies”, as I often quote. Only when you are or when others are will the boundaries of your relationship and interactions be known.
- Follow Up Regularly – One of our clients checks in with us every two weeks. She sends us a video of her progress. We really appreciate that she is faithful to that schedule. To build accountability you need to establish a schedule and routine to follow up on a regular basis. Frankly, when someone fails to follow up with you, that is a sign that they are not being responsible and accountable to the task or behaviour they agreed to take on. That is true as well with your mate.
- Speak The Truth Even When It Is Not Pretty – this one is often overlooked. Not only should you speak and expect the truth, but you should also SEE it when staring you in the face. When you hear or give the truth, explain, coach, suggest or ask for ways to make things right, how to put them back on track.
Go Forth And Be Responsible
If you can do these three things–be clear, follow up regularly, and speak and expect the truth –you will not only greatly improve the accountability in your relationships (of all sorts) but you will also become a far stronger partner, employee and leader as a result.
Please note that due to increased volume of work, we will be reducing the number of blog posts. Starting this week, we will post here on Mondays and Wednesdays only.
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Have a wonderful week.