Accountability must be self-imposed in order for people to truly grasp the concept, take ownership, and take on appropriate levels of commitment.
But this can only be done when the fear and apprehension most people associate with words such as accountability are openly addressed. When reflecting on your own team, here are a few questions to consider:
- Do we blame people when things don’t go as planned?
- Do people self-assume accountability or do we assign/delegate accountability?
- In our current culture is there fear, anxiety or hesitation around accountability?
- Do we ask people to be accountable before asking if they are capable?
- Do accountability and authority always go together? When should they?
I have always taught people that you first “learn” accountability from the external realm… meaning you learn to become accountable to others to provide safety, insure integral performance, promote responsibility.
In growth, not everyone will “adopt” accountability “internally”. Meaning they may not have the capacity, or character to take “ownership” of something. This is where the difference comes in. Does the person want to come under authority? Are they humble enough to come under authority? Do they want the “position” without the accountability, and responsibility?
If they do not fit any of these areas, then they will likely not be able to carry genuine authority, because it would indicate a lack of “ownership”. If you cannot accurately assess people this way, you may find a lot of holes in your leadership team. You want to develop “owners”, people who adopt the vision, take ownership, operate in character, integrity, accountability, responsibility and authority.
These will be the humble ones. Not meek and weak people. Humble and strong in character and ability as they exercise servant leadership. True accountability, when imparted then adopted properly, with the understanding and expectations you have of others, will help people to move into the ownership needed to for people to walk in humble, submitted authority.
Trusted servant leaders.