Of the 23 personal talent skills we measure, the mean ranking for personal accountability is second to last at 22nd. Perhaps our society has simply accepted the weak behavior trait and essentially enabled it. Leaders do not need to accept it and can actually encourage and develop their direct reports’ personal accountability.
To instill greater personal accountability:
- Establish clear expectations and milestones with each direct report with their input.
- Be certain to follow-up at the designated milestones for discussions about being on-track toward the ultimate goal.
- If the direct report is falling off track, do not simply move the deadline without serious consideration of the behavior being reinforced.
- Refrain from asking how someone can be helped (that simply allows the direct report to delegate up). Instead ask, “What obstacles do you need removed or what additional resources do you need to get yourself back on track?”
With this empowering approach, leaders are communicating their confidence in direct reports who are capable of getting themselves back on track. Allowing them to come up with plausible solutions encourages them to experience success.
Leaders who empower direct reports by holding them accountable for their commitments see more personal accountability and increase the opportunities for success.