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Behavioral Accountability

Peter Winick here With Thought Leadership Leverage.

Accountability is one of the big buzz words du jour and it’s certainly a powerful tool. But what’s the underlying concept we’re talking about here and how can we apply it?

When we talk about accountability, at its core we’re talking about focused behavior change.

When we try to implement accountability programs in the workplace we often start in the wrong space.

We have no issue holding someone accountable for missing a deadline, but we rarely hold them accountable for actions that erode trust or respect amongst the team.

We ignore toxic behaviors as long as the goal is achieved.

But, in order to successfully hold ourselves and others accountable for a task we have to start with our own input behaviors, not the final goals and objectives. So let’s start with the foundation: you, the individual.

Are you aware of your consistent habits and behaviors? What do you do under pressure?

I don’t mean temper tantrums — most organizations aren’t putting up with that anyway. I’m talking about being passive aggressive, avoiding conflict, hoarding information, being uncooperative, stubborn, inflexible, or non-responsive.

Am I getting close?

The first step is to identify a negative behavior or two that you are prone to.

Examine a few situations that have recently frustrated you and ask what you may have done to contribute to that situation.

Second: be transparent about that habit and ask your team to hold you accountable when you display those behaviors. You can decide how you this happens;

I’ve seen people use a “code word” in real time to alert the offender and I’ve seen people set up regular meetings.

Chances are your coworkers are already aware of your negative behaviors, and allowing them to engage you in the process will only help you succeed.

Imagine if your finance group was not only responsible for cash flow projections and paying vendors in a timely manner, but did so without the sarcasm?

What if your head of marketing cut out the passive aggressive emails and executed the campaign flawlessly as well? We don’t need to choose results at the expense of all else.

Start with a minor behavioral issue to get comfortable with the process. Once you’ve tasted a bit of success you can move on to a more challenging behavior.

Let me know what you tried, what worked and what didn’t in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe for future content. Thanks.

Peter Winick has deep expertise in helping those with deep expertise. He is the CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Peter on Twitter!

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