The Price of Not Holding Others Accountable

PriceAfter a leadership development seminar I presented in Wisconsin last week, I read an article in a local newspaper that we can all learn from.

Apparently, two Milwaukee police officers decided to sue the city after their complaints to their supervisor(s) of harassment and threats from a fellow officer were ignored.

Unfortunately, the complaints led to retaliation and continued bullying from the fellow officer in question.

Now, I’m not here to lay blame, pick sides or judge anybody involved – the courts can do that.

However, there is a lesson to be reinforced … and that is, leaders must act on behavior inconsistent with company values and policies.

My leadership tip for you this week is to remind you that as a leader you must hold others accountable for their actions, behaviors and performance.

Weak leaders look the other way when they should be holding others accountable.

Exceptional leaders embrace accountability and are effective at holding themselves and others accountable.

Here are 5 – challenges you could be faced with when you’re a leader who struggles with holding people accountable:

Diminishing credibility
Loss of trust and respect
Chaotic work environment
Disengaged employees
Law suits

“Sir Josiah Stamp once said “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.”

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Accountability Earns Credibility

Logo1Politics aside … and leadership front row and center.

You probably heard that earlier this week President Obama asked for, and received, the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS.

Apparently the IRS leader was responsible for “putting extra scrutiny on Tea Party groups’ applications for tax-exempt status.” This is considered misconduct.

According to this USA article, President “Obama called the misconduct by IRS officials inexcusable.”

He also said, “It’s inexcusable and Americans are right to be angry about it and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but particularly the IRS given the power that it has and the reach that it has in all of our lives.”

Here are 3 – brief leadership lessons from this incident:

1. Treat all of your employees, customers and vendors with respect

2. Implement policies and procedures with consistency

3. Do not tolerate misconduct – accountability is critical to preserving credibility

The most challenging one for many leaders is ‘holding others accountable’ … yet it is extremely vital to preserving your own leadership. President Obama did good with this one.

Think about what would happen to your credibility if you looked the other way when someone in your organization was doing / saying something that was inconsistent with your stated values and / or principles.

If you’re not prepared to act, regardless of who the violator is, then your leadership is weakened … and everyone knows it.

As an example, I once had to let a senior member of my team go for deceit and terminated the employment of one of our best sales professionals for violation of our basic business values.

Due to the high profile of the individuals, they were both difficult dismissals. However, the action sent a signal to the rest of the organization that our values meant something, and no one was exempt from living them every day.

My leadership tip this week is to encourage you to take a tough stand on misconduct and integrity issues in your organization … hold people accountable.

How you ask? … Set realistic expectations … communicate them … live them … measure / monitor them. Now, if we could only get to the truth of Benghazi.

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Leadership and Accountability

                                                                             I thought I’d share an action item in my recently published book – ‘Sparks – A Business Fable’ which contains over 90 different leadership action items. You can learn more at www.SparksTheBook.com  

There always seems to be someone in the news that is refusing to take accountability for their performance, actions or behaviors. The constant theme seems to be ‘it’s not my fault.’ 

This is a good reminder for leaders; you are accountable for the results of your company … and if you don’t achieve the desired results you can’t blame it on the economy. Don’t blame it on your team either, because although you can delegate responsibility, you can’t delegate accountability.  

However, you can hold people accountable for not successfully completing tasks, projects, assignments as well as their actions, behaviors and performance in their normal responsibilities. Surprisingly, many leaders have a difficult time with this.

Leaders always do the right thing by embracing accountability and are certain to hold others accountable for their performance, actions and behaviors … they mindfully create a culture of accountability.

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