Accountability Comes from Leaders

People follow the behaviors of their leaders. It’s human nature. When a team member sees their leader hold themselves and others accountable, that person is more likely to do the same. Accountability comes from leaders. So, if your people aren’t following through on expectations, how are you holding them accountable?

Feeling Uncomfortable

Culture is leadership behavior when you think no one is watching.

I often use this phrase with clients when leaders complain about a lack of accountability. But guess what? The reverse is usually true too: their people also complain about them failing to hold themselves accountable.

I remind them it starts with us as leaders. The discipline they create with their actions creates a culture of accountability for their organization.

Much of this comes down to leadership, management, and accountability, or LMA™. Think of it as an equation: Leadership + Management = Accountability. Leaders have to create a space where not getting things done feels uncomfortable. That starts with us as leaders creating a clear expectation of their roles, painting the vision of what done looks like, and then being available to help them when roadblocks arise. When they committed to completing the To-Do or Rock, we ask them: “Is it done?”

It can feel uncomfortable to call someone out. But leaders need to flip it to create a culture where not getting things done is more uncomfortable.

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EOS® Tools/Disciplines That Can Help

EOS has a lot of great tools that can help leaders drive accountability through their company. When clients say they have accountability issues, these are the first three tools/disciplines I point to: The Accountability Chart™, Level 10 Meeting™, and documenting core processes.

The Accountability Chart

One of the first things I ask a client to do is review their Accountability Chart for clarity. You can’t hold people accountable if they don’t know they’re responsible for something. We review the five roles for someone’s seat to ensure the list is clear. Can you point to what you’re expecting from someone in that seat?

Level 10 Meeting

Next, we talk about the quality of their Level 10 Meetings. Often, accountability comes down to things like Scorecards, to-dos, and Rocks that get covered in these weekly meetings.

When leaders create weekly to-dos, are they creating a culture where it’s uncomfortable not getting a certain percentage of to-dos completed each week?

When someone doesn’t finish a to-do, leaders need to make sure they’re dropping each item down to IDS® (Identify, Discuss, and Solve) them. Leaders must make it a consistent part of their DNA that they expect to-dos to be to-done. And if things aren’t being completed, leaders have to work with the team to get to the root cause of why not.

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Core Processes

Finally, we look at their core processes. Are they documented? Are leaders using Scorecard measurables to hold people accountable for the expectations of their core processes?

Recently, I’ve had several clients with this opportunity. It happens most often when they’re in the earlier stages of Running on EOS™. Leaders who are just learning to use all the EOS Tools often only use one tool at a time. However, by tying tools together as a holistic system, you can get more out of them.

For one particular client of mine, their big AHA moment was when they realized their Scorecard didn’t have measurables that connected to their core processes. As a result, they weren’t tracking the most important things that moved the business forward (which they’d captured in their core processes).

If you want to drive greater accountability from the people in your business, start by holding yourself accountable. Even if you think nobody’s watching… they probably are.

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