Inspiring Personal Accountability

October 21, 2019 9:01 pm

Achieving results with and through other people is a hallmark of great leadership. Organisations and leaders with highly accountable teams are better positioned to overcome new challenges and accomplish sustainable business results.

But how do you inspire team members to be accountable when you are time-poor, managing a diverse and dispersed workforce, and the pace/complexity of change is accelerating?

A brain-based approach to accountability is more consistent with today’s agile workforce than the traditional carrot and stick method.

Why mindset matters

Mindset shift is the key to creating a highly accountable team in a fast paced business and what many leaders don’t realise is that high team accountability is also conducive to higher engagement and individual wellbeing.

We are intrinsically motivated to make a worthwhile contribution; our highly social brains are wired that way. Likewise, having a sense of control and autonomy enables employees to tap into the more reflective/thoughtful part of their brains rather than the reactive/protective regions.

High accountability is most easily achieved when individual employees have more control/responsibility for holding themselves to account.

Leaders who partner with their employees to find the intersection between the organisation goals and the employee needs to give their staff with as much control as feasible are in a position to reap the rewards of a self-accountable team. But to do this leaders often have to manage their own anxieties and concerns about control.

Leader confidence and resilience is essential

BrainWise leaders develop their personal brain fitness. They build the mental muscle to overcome the brain’s tendency to take short cuts resulting in either over-controlling behaviours or abdication of responsibility.

Effective leaders are not intimidated by employees who know more than they do or those that have different approaches to work. In fact, they relish this diversity and work to uncover and leverage hidden perspectives and talents.

Likewise, leaders who are most effective in an agile work environment create opportunities for team members to build on each other’s experience and expertise.

Five habits for sustainable results

It is the day-to-day routine behaviour of a leader that has the most influence on employees, not the well-rehearsed presentation, once-off pep talk or even intermittent corrective feedback.

BrainWise leaders establish habits and routines that incrementally build relationships and encourage self-responsibility. More specifically effective leaders:

1. Have regular two-way discussions to ensure their people have the information and other resources they need to do their jobs.

2. Coach employees to address both the people and technical aspects of a challenge.

3. Assist team members in developing measures employees can use to monitor their own work.

4. Work together with each employee and team to honestly appraise workload and establish priorities.

5. Provide regular authentic and specific positive feedback.

Cultivating the right culture

Leaders boost individual coaching and development by cultivating a team/organisational culture that includes high trust, respect, transparency and achievement orientation.

Feeling safe is the foundation for strong and creative thinking and willingness to take responsibility. Building on this solid groundwork, leaders in collaboration with their teams can intentionally put into place the conditions that are conducive to high performance.

For more information on our group-based development program or TalentFAST  which is Learning Quest’s unique individualised leadership program that help leaders build thier capactity to inspire accountablity in others , please contact – Dr Connie Henson Grainne Davidson:

Photo Credit: Leon Liu on Unsplash

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