What’s the flaw in the Accountabilty movement?

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Accountability starts with caring about one another's success

With so many enterprises clawing their way back to prosperity, the “accountability movement” is in full swing.  Businesses are asking employees to be more accountable.  Media pundits and politicians are clamoring for greater accountability (as if we had it in the first place.)

When we hear about accountability in the corporate setting, it means ‘we will be cracking down on non-performers’ and/or ‘the people who hit their goals will keep their jobs, and maybe they will get promoted’. When we hear about accountability in the context of public officials, its means one of two things:  either ‘we will vote you out of office for not doing what we want you to do,’ or ‘the media will find out about your weird life habits via social media and out you.’

What do we really mean?  Aren’t we really asking people to take personal ownership over the things they promised to do?  I much prefer ‘ownership’ over ‘accountability’ because ownership implies that I have control over the outcome.  If I ‘own it’ I can do what I need to ‘deliver it.’

Is this play on words more than semantics and conjecture…or is this worth exploring?

Actually, I do think there are some situations where the word Accountability is worth the emotional attention is captures.  The best example is in ‘turnaround’ situations.  In organizations who have slowly eroded into complacency by accepting slipping sales as the daily routine…the word Accountability is a good wake up call.  But how do good leaders make that wake up call ‘positive?’

There are two “C”s in the word accountability:  the c-word that gets all the attention is “consequences.”  That’s where the fear comes from.  But the most powerful word is often overlooked — or at least underplayed.  The most important c-word is “care.”  The missing ingredient in most accountability movements, is that leaders forget (or ignore) the strategy that says first:  I “care” about you, and your success — I really want you to succeed.  Not only that, but I understand who you want to be when you grow up…and I’ll do everything I can to help you succeed now, as a step to getting you there.”   When followers hear that sincere message, they are almost certain to take personal ownership of the situation, and gladly accept the notion of ‘consequences.’

With so many enterprises clawing their way back into prosperity, the “accountability movement” is in full swing.  Have you demonstrated that you care about the well-being of the people who are so important to your success?  If you think ‘yes’ that’s a good start.  The magic begins when the people who follow you really think, feel and know that you care.

Who needs to know that you care today?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Paul Batz

Paul Batz is CEO and Founder of Good Leadership Enterprises. He is an inspirational leadership coach, best selling author and professional speaker. His Good Leadership blog is recognized as one of the top leadership posts in America today.