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A Culture of Accountability

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - Joe Kiedinger

The word “accountable” has gotten a bad rap. People interpret this word as being ruthless and demeaning when they hear, “I’m holding you accountable.” However, when you really diagnose this word, it’s the secret sauce to a great company culture.

Accountability is two words put together: “account” and “ability”. Let’s take a closer look, for in doing so, we can lower anxiety and raise confidence and trust among teams.

It means a person is held in account of their ability. When you look at it this way, it takes on a whole new meaning. This means leaders need to analyze two things, an individual’s talents and their intellectual ability (know-how to do a job). This interpretation forces leaders to dig deeper and take a more active role and responsibility in allocating positions and tasks.

Einstein is credited with the saying, “…if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” 

Leaders must understand the individual internal drivers of each unique person. If a person’s job requires a high level of organization and that person has no natural ability to organize, they will feel physically drained and have low morale and production.

On the contrary, if the person does have gifts of organization, then complex projects can be thrilling and engaging for them. It sparks their heart and they look forward to their day.

Often times leaders will delegate a goal to a person who truly has no internal ability or external experience to provide a meaningful plan. Their co-workers feel their discomfort and anxiety.

As leaders, we must look at ourselves in the mirror and identify each unique soul in our care and ask: is this person acting and performing authentically? Has this person fallen short many times and left us wondering, why?

To begin digging deeper and to truly hold a person in account of their ability is to be real and talk straight. Both parties feel relieved and hopeful for the future. Both the leader and the employee embrace this reality.

Joe Kiedinger

ACTION PLAN: Pull out your mirror!