When You Change Your Behavior, Accountability Begins

Do you ever let yourself daydream about how much better things could be at work? For example, let’s look at what’s behind Door Number One:

Imagine that you come to work one day and there’s nothing on your desk. There’s nothing in your Inbox. No new emails. No one has made any new demands on your time.

All of your employees are in their offices, contentedly doing their jobs. When they see you, they don’t avoid you. They smile, deliver the results you’re looking for, and return to work.

When you check the budget, you notice you’re in the black, and well above projections. You can’t remember when you last had a disciplinary problem. Want to play golf? Need to catch up on a few errands? No problem. Everyone knows what to do, and how to do it well.

This is a fantasy. Companies don’t run themselves. Your people need you to be present, to pay attention, to answer their questions, and to guide them toward success.

But this fantasy can come true to some extent. People can accomplish what you want them to. In a pleasant manner. And on time. All you need to do is make some small changes in the way you do things. A little change in your behavior can make a big difference in your results.

Now let me ask you to indulge in another fantasy, this time behind Door Number Two:

Imagine that you come to work one day and sit down for a regularly scheduled accountability meeting with one of your reports. Because you genuinely care about this person, you begin the discussion by asking about his or her last golf tournament, child’s musical performance or spouse’s recent illness. You listen deeply to the person’s celebrations, pride, concerns and fears.

As the subject easily and naturally shifts to business, you deliver warm and sincere praise when you hear about success on a recent project. When the person shares some concerns about an important, upcoming deadline you listen, suggest exploring some new approaches and support re-prioritizing some other projects in order to meet the deadline.

The conversation next turns to time management, work overload and a desire for more exercise. You’re just as willing to help with these topics. Together, the two of you map out some steps the person can take to achieve a better work/life balance, take better care of his/her body and enjoy more free time.

Could you be this type of leader? Absolutely? All it will take is changing some of your behaviors. To learn more about what these key behaviors, see my article titled “The 7 Essential Behaviors of Accountable Leaders.”

By becoming this kind of caring, supportive and effective leader, you’ll give your direct reports a gift. More importantly, you’ll give yourself a gift: your people will achieve what you want them to achieve—willingly, and on time.

And once you start making these changes, I’ll bet that the impact will not be limited to your team. Because of your successes and the obvious improvement in morale, the rest of the leadership team will likely notice what you’re doing and become curious. People may be inspired to experiment with some of your techniques.

If you’re lucky, your entire company will adopt these new behaviors. So what’s the next fantasy behind Door Number Three? It’s your new reality; your vision of ultimate accountability. It’s all yours, as soon as you’re willing to start changing. Are you willing? Then open the door and walk right through.

– The above is an excerpt of Alan Dobzinski’s latest book, The Buck Starts Here: Why Leadership Accountability Is The Key To Less Stress, More Time & a Better Bottom Line. To get your copy, click here.