Leadership Accountability Starts With A-C-C

You can’t change other people, you can only change yourself. And a small change in your behavior will make a big difference in your results.

In order to practice leadership accountability and create a Want-To culture, there are three choices you need to make:

  1. Will I choose to lead by attacking or approaching?
  2. Will I motivate people by controlling them or caring for them?
  3. Will my communication style confuse or clarify?

These three choices form the Approach–Care–Clarify, or “ACC” Model of Accountability:

A: Approach, Don’t Attack

When talking with your staff about what could or should be done, keep in mind the golden rule of accountability: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.

You see, it’s about what they need. When you approach rather than attack, you encourage employees to be honest with you, to tell you what they need in order to do their best. Approach honestly. Discuss openly. Plan accordingly.

B: Care, Don’t Control

Discover the best that each person has to offer, and capitalize on those strengths. Praise your staff for what they’re doing well, so that they know they’re making a positive contribution. Demonstrate that you’re looking out for their personal and professional well-being. Go to bat for people, even supporting them in confrontations with other leaders.

Will you lose control this way? Not really. By relinquishing control up front and focusing instead on expressing care and concern for your employees, you’ll gain more control over yourself—and the accountability process.

C: Clarify, Don’t Confuse

Establish and maintain open, honest, and regularly scheduled two-way discussions with your employees. Don’t assume that you know what’s on their minds. Don’t assume that they can read yours. Keep people in the loop by sharing news, plans and ideas. Share your grand plan, too, so that everyone understands what the work is really all about. When employees know what they’re working toward, they will tend to commit to that vision and work with you to achieve it.

Approach–Care–Clarify A+C+C = Accountability!

When you approach, care and clarify, you begin making the shift from a “Have-To” mentality to a “Want-To” mentality. Learn the ACC Model and you’ll be well on your way to a climate of accountability.

The ACC model is more about who you need to be as a person, and less about the nuts and bolts accountability strategies you’ll use in a coach approach to leadership and accountability. We’ll cover both topics over time. Coming up next, I’ll be presenting more detailed articles about each step in the ACC model.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more leadership tools and accountability strategies for building a climate of accountability in your workplace, you can check out my book, The Accountability Factor: The Buck Starts Here: