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Accountability = Love

Image result for hr.com logoPublished in HR.com by Hernani Alves

How to Transform into a Modern Leader That Others Will Love to Follow

Love is the foundation of accountability. Don’t worry, that statement seemed vague to me too at first. A good example of this came from Vince Lombardi, former Green Bay Packers coach, and Super Bowl trophy namesake. Lombardi once said, “Love is loyalty, love is teamwork, love respects the dignity of the individual.”. What Lombardi understood was that humans, even tough football players, desire to love and be loved. The result of his leadership was five NFL Championships including wins in Super Bowls one and two. I think it’s safe to say he was on to something.

The Human Side of HR

An incredible Human Resources (HR) executive named Tracy Jackson, Chief Human Resource Officer, SAFE Credit Union, once told me that we need to focus on the human side of HR. This piece of advice put me on the path to viewing accountability as the ultimate act of love for my employees. That concept may make you uncomfortable, but it stems from a basic human need to be loved. A need that doesn’t go away just because we’ve entered the workplace.

Prioritizing accountability is an act that inspires people to reach for their own victories before yours. That’s a kind of motivation you just can’t beat. It’s trusting, it’s empowering, and most importantly, it’s loving.

The Three Ps

I spent years honing in on accountability techniques that really work, and I broke them down into three elements: Personal, Positive, and Performance, or The 3Ps. Along with several human resource professionals, I challenged myself, tested the process, and saw significant improvements in my work performance. Here is what I learned:

P1: Personal Accountability

This is the hardest but most important aspect of the program. As leaders, we must first and foremost hold ourselves accountable. Believe it or not, your employees want to do what you do. Mimicry is human nature, it’s how we learn to function. You have to be willing to lead by example with self-awareness and humility. Seek and listen to feedback on your own work, and focus on finding solutions to challenges instead of playing the victim. Your behavior sets the precedence for the rest of the team.

P2: Positive Accountability

Early on in my career, my team was setting sales records, winning awards, and getting large bonus checks. However, I was told that no one enjoyed working with me; that I was a micromanager. This awarded me the worst nickname you can ever get as a leader (which I reveal in my book).

Positivity might sound “soft”, but it’s essential to getting the results you want. Positivity is what led to my staff presenting me with a Best Leader Award — my most cherished accolade. It’s is how good managers become great leaders. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot more enjoyable than being a Negative Nelly.

Research tells us negativity is contagious, a fact that can be detrimental in the workplace if your attitude is sour. The good news is that positivity is also contagious, and easy to create through your company’s language and actions. We must create positive experiences at work. Keep in mind though; this isn’t about sugar-coating the issues. It’s about taking action to solve a problem. There are tried and true steps that you can take to utilize positive accountability in my book, Balanced Accountability: Three Leadership Secrets To Win Hearts And Maximize Performance. These will help you reduce turnover, increase profitability, and make work a much more enjoyable place to be.

P3: Performance Accountability

The third P is for Performance Accountability. This is more aligned with that more basic understanding of accountability. You know, when you think of hauling someone up for their actions? However, that practice is just begging for resistance and resentment towards your leadership. You can hold someone accountable without resorting to shame or punishment.

Performance Accountability gives you the option to coach your staff to those wins which will, in turn, contribute to the success of your organization as a whole.  Vince Lombardi understood better than anyone how valuable it is to improve team-wide and individual performances to get those wins. You want to boost the confidence of your employees and inspire them to do their best for their own success. When they do that, your success as their leader will follow.

Accountability is a vast concept, but not one that’s hard to figure out. It’s just got to be rooted in love. Love for your business, love for your family, love for the greater good, etc..

I encourage you to get uncomfortable and practice sitting in your feelings of love and gratitude. It will make approaching The 3Ps easier if your motivation is coming from a good and inspiring place. Our need for love is so universal, and the fact that we’re bottling that up at work is making it harder to connect with and motivate each other. It’s imperative that you show your employees that you genuinely care about their success and that the accountability you ask for is not an act of retribution, but a means to set them up for prosperity.

About the Author:

Hernani Alves is an entrepreneur, author, international speaker, and executive consultant with over twenty years of business experience as a Sales Executive for a $3 Billion Company. He’s the founder of Balanced IQ, a company that helps leaders build world-class teams focused on getting sustainable results in varying economic climates.

In his book, Balanced Accountability: Three Leadership Secrets to Win Hearts and Maximize Performance, Alves delivers a newfound clarity on the case for accountability and the steps organizations, and individuals need to take to unleash their potential. He reveals the frame work needed to improve accountability in the workplace to win hearts and maximize performance.

To connect with Alves, please visit his LinkedIn Profile, Facebook or Amazon Author’s Page

Feedback Is A Gift: Seek and Provide It

Published in ProjectManagement.com in Hot Topics for Communication by Hernani Alves

I’m a firm believer that feedback is a gift. When I work with supervisors, it’s usually because they’ve dug themselves into a hole. They keep digging and digging as an attempt to get help. 

Instead, they need to put down the shovel and grab the ladder.  That ladder is S.I.P. feedback. It’s the best place to start when you have nowhere else to go and find yourself in a critical spot. S.I.P. is the ultimate offering and one that, when utilized properly, will propel your team to victory.

But is there really a secret to doing this effectively? Oh yes. In my experience, the most successful leaders do these three things when giving feedback.

  1. Seek Feedback

First and foremost, they seek their own feedback. As a supervisor, you are responsible for your team’s success, which is why you need to start with improving your skills before moving on to theirs. By asking for an assessment of your performance, you’ll be able to communicate with your employees more effectively and, most importantly, demonstrate that accountability is a two-way street.

You’ll need to go into this knowing that the results will likely be tough to hear. Early in my career, I worked my way up to becoming one of the top sales managers in my company, but as a leader, I was struggling. My direct manager, Matt, gave it to me straight: “You’re outstanding and one of the best salespeople we have.”, he said. “However, no one wants to work with you.” Ouch. As difficult as it was for me to hear, that piece of feedback was one of the biggest gifts I’ve ever received in my career. It pushed me to take action and to seek a better way to manage.

When you ask your employees for feedback, don’t argue, don’t defend. Listen, and use what they’re saying as a means to improve. What they’re giving you is a gift that you can use to move yourself and your team forward.  You’ll be shocked to hear after this; your team will be asking for their feedback as well. 

  1.  Increase Positive Feedback

Employees need to hear what they’re doing well. Not all feedback can be positive, but it’s vital to highlight the wins over the losses. It can be easy to focus on shortcomings when giving feedback, but pessimism can be detrimental in the workplace. That doesn’t mean you can’t suggest areas to improve, but who aspires for greatness when it feels fruitless anyway? There’s a balance. Luckily, a negative work atmosphere can be turned around, and the easiest way to do that is with positivity.

 

According to the Harvard Business Review “A large and growing body of research on positive organizational psychology demonstrates that… a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.”. How does this translate to effective feedback? Simple: catch people doing things right.  Celebrate those wins and magnify the positives. Let your individual employees know how much you value their contribution. This not only inspires them to build on their strengths, but it allows them to feel autonomy and ownership in the company. They’ll want to see the team as a whole prosper, and your turnover will go down.

  1.  Provide Healthy Feedback

Giving a positive report is vital – it sets you up to provide healthy feedback. No one wants to hear feedback for feedback’s sake. This process should be intentional with the ultimate goal of seeing improvement. Will it be easy for you or the employee? No way, but it will be worth it.

Consider when you join a gym. Is your trainer your favorite person when they’re pushing you to run one more mile or do one more push up? Probably not. However, they know that the desired result of your fitness journey is not only about transforming your body. It’s about living life to its fullest. Being able to run with your kids, enjoying your clothes, feeling stronger and doing what you want to do.

As a leader, we are tasked to train our employees in a similar way. To hold them accountable, and provide motivation especially when it’s tough so that they can succeed. This is what I consider healthy feedback. It’s intentional and asks both parties to push through difficulties as a means for growth.

Can you utilize feedback without pushing away your team? Absolutely! Remember that you’re giving them a gift. It may not be a gift that they particularly want, but it’s for the greater good. If you focus on the positive and are deliberate with your words, you won’t be crushing their soul with critique; you’ll be providing them with feedback to unleash their fullest potential.  Ready, set, go!

About the Author:

Hernani Alves is an entrepreneur, author, international speaker, and executive consultant with over twenty years of business experience as a Sales Executive for a $3 Billion Company. He’s the founder of Balanced IQ, a company that helps leaders build world-class teams focused on getting sustainable results in varying economic climates.

In his book, Balanced Accountability: Three Leadership Secrets to Win Hearts and Maximize Performance, Alves delivers a newfound clarity on the case for accountability and the steps organizations, and individuals need to take to unleash their potential. He reveals the frame work needed to improve accountability in the workplace to win hearts and maximize performance.

To connect with Alves, please visit his LinkedIn Profile, Facebook Page or Amazon Author’s Page

Accountable Leadership

By Forward, a publication of the Financial Managers Society    FMSinc.org | 800-ASK-4

AS A LEADER, HOW SHOULD ONE THINK OF THE CONCEPT OF ACCOUNTABILITY? FOR MOST, ACCOUNTABILITY IS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS WHEN THINGS GO WRONG – THE NOTION OF TAKING OWNERSHIP OF ONE’S MISTAKES. BUT HERNANI ALVES HAS A DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW

“If you have high turnover on your team, or your employees are regularly not hitting their goals, or just aren’t engaged, it’s because you’re not harnessing the power of effective accountability in your leadership,” Alves, an author and management expert, explains.

“It really is the crux of workplace problems, both big and small.” Alves spent over twenty years as an executive at a $3-billlion company and now works as a consultant with major clients. His passion is spreading the word about balanced accountability – and how it can help transform organizations.

Alves spent over twenty years as an executive at a $3-billlion company and now works as a consultant with major clients. His passion is spreading the word about balanced accountability – and how it can help transform organizations.

“When people think about accountability, they think about punishment,” he says. “They think about it as motivating with a stick instead of a carrot. That’s why I talk about balanced accountability, because on one side you can be too positive and too permissive and not a strong leader, and on the other you can be a micromanager and a harsh leader.”

For Alves, the journey toward balanced accountability began at the latter extreme. When he was first promoted to management, he micromanaged his team – and got positive results doing so.

“My team was getting bonuses, we were getting awards – we were on top of the world,” he recalls. “But my manager told me that my team didn’t want to work with me anymore.”

Surprised and hurt, Alves began making changes that eventually informed his entire approach toward leadership with a strategy he calls the Three P’s of Accountability.

PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY

The first step Alves asks leaders to take is one of personal accountability.

“Personal accountability is the most important and challenging aspect of this program. It’s important because, although it may not always feel like it, your employees want to follow you. Just as your kid will mimic you, employees will copy you too. It’s just human nature.”

Personal accountability necessitates holding ourselves as leaders to a high standard. At its core, it’s simply leading by example. However, to take full personal accountability requires a honed sense of self-awareness.

“We have to be hard and honest with ourselves,” Alves says. “We discover how to lead by changing how we think and act.”

Leaders who take personal accountability seriously and have the self-awareness to know when they’ve made a mistake are leaders employees can trust. For example, demanding that employees arrive on time then personally showing up late every day is a surefire way to sow discord and resentment. Only by being honest with oneself and acting as an example to one’s team can a leader find true success.

POSITIVE ACCOUNTABILITY

Positivity is a key element of strong leadership, but it’s one that many leaders shy away from. After all, it sounds a little fluffy.

“Positivity may seem like a soft subject, but it’s essential to improving your bottom line and getting the results you want,” Alves says. “Research tells us negativity is contagious and can have a detrimental effect on the workplace.”

Positivity reduces stress and creates a more engaging atmosphere, but it’s not easy to stay cheerful when the stresses of the industry seem overwhelming. Even so, positive accountability isn’t about sugar-coating a bad situation.

“When you really embrace balanced accountability, it creates a culture where even when you’re not there, your employees are holding themselves accountable.”

“You owe it to your employees to tell them what they need to know, even when it’s not what they want to hear,” Alves explains. “It’s possible to do this and be positive at the same time, even if the message itself isn’t great. Whatever is appropriate to share, you should share honestly.”

But the most important party of positive accountability isn’t cheerful words – it’s affirming actions. Positive accountability means rewarding your team for their successes just as you would hold them accountable for their mistakes.

“Sometimes these things seem unnatural to leaders who aren’t used to them, but they’re really powerful. Praising a team member in front of others or handing out thank you notes for specific actions – these are really effective tactics that cost nothing but a few minutes of your time.”

PERFORMANCE ACCOUNTABILITY

Holding employees responsible for meeting their performance goals is familiar to most leaders, but many do not couple discipline or performance reviews with coaching sessions.

“After leading more than five-thousand people, I’ve seen many seemingly obvious expectations become issues because they were not explicitly laid out,” Alves says. “When you hold someone accountable for their performance, don’t be afraid to communicate your expectations clearly. Employees actually love this. Even when conversations around this are difficult, employees still appreciate them.”

Sometimes when employees exhibit problem behaviors – such as tardiness, missed deadlines or poor communication skills – it’s baggage from a former workplace. All workers come from previous experiences that have created their own personal expectations. Leaders who beat around the bush rather than addressing these types of problems head-on are doing those employees a disservice.

“Once you embrace performance accountability, you’ll be able to set expectations from a new recruit’s first moments, and be confident in dealing with unexpected or even unforgivable behavior,” Alves says. “When you set expectations, you’re not just covering your butt and providing a paper trail for disciplinary actions further down the line. You’re engaging your employees and raising the standard of their work.”

PRIORITIZING ACCOUNTABILITY
Implementing these three principles of accountability may seem less important than filling key positions or managing major risk factors, but Alves argues that embracing them can actually help you with those pressing problems.

“I know it can feel overwhelming, particularly if your life is busy with challenging work situations,” he says. “High turnover, mediocre performance and poorly engaged employees might tempt you to shelve these ideas until things are quieter, but I actually believe that the Three Ps are what will get you to that quieter, more productive, less stressful place.”

Taking balanced accountability seriously means holding oneself and one’s employees to a higher standard, but using positivity and openness to do so.

“Before exploring accountability, I knew I needed a new approach to get the best from my employees,” Alves says. “When you really embrace balanced accountability, it creates a culture where even when you’re not there, your employees are holding themselves accountable.”

Hernani Alves’ book, Balanced Accountability: Three Secrets to Win Hearts and Maximize Performance, is available from Amazon now.

About the Author:

Hernani Alves is an Amazon best selling author, international speaker, and consultant with over twenty years of business experience as a Sales Executive for a $3 Billion Company. He’s the founder of Balanced IQ, a company that helps leaders build world-class teams focused on getting sustainable results in varying economic climates.

In his book, Balanced Accountability: Three Leadership Secrets to Win Hearts and Maximize Performance, Alves delivers a newfound clarity on the case for accountability and the steps organizations, and individuals need to take to unleash their potential. He reveals the frame work needed to improve accountability in the workplace to win hearts and maximize performance.

 

Maximize Your Business with the 3Ps of Balanced Accountability

A great leader loves their team similar to that of a parent loving their children. As a father, I hold my kids accountable because I know it’s the best way to help them become better versions of themselves. It’s the same drive that fuels my relationship with my employees. I’m grateful for their work, I love them for their contributions, and I want to see them succeed under (and after) my leadership.

This wasn’t always my take on supervising. When I started managing my first team, we were seeing record sales, but my team couldn’t stand me. I was a strict and negative micromanager, and even though our numbers were good, they were unsustainable. How far can a supervisor expect his employees push for them under those conditions? It wasn’t until I started using accountability to improve (not punish) my team that I was able to overcome my faults and eventually become the executive vice-president of a $3 billion company. 

Lack of effective accountability is the crux of most workplace problems, but the fault doesn’t lie on the employees. According to a Partners in Leadership study, 84% of respondents cite their leaders’ behavior as the most important factor in determining the accountability of their work. Employees crave an environment that enhances their abilities. The best way to establish that type organization is through something I call the 3Ps: Personal, Positive, and Performance Accountability. These are the backbone of effective accountability. I’ve mentored countless other leaders through this, and I’ve also experienced it firsthand. It works.

The 3Ps

P1: Personal Accountability

This is the most important “P” of the program. As a leader, you need to hold yourself accountable. Believe it or not, our employees want to follow in our footsteps. You need to be willing to demonstrate self-awareness and humility in your own leadership before asking them to do the same. Request feedback on your own work, and focus on finding solutions to your struggles instead of getting defensive. You set the precedent for the rest of your team.

P2: Positive Accountability

Positivity is essential to achieving sustainable results. It’s how good managers become great leaders. Plus it’s just more enjoyable than being negative. 

We’ve learned that positivity is just as contagious as negativity, which makes creating positive experiences at work absolutely worth it. Celebrating the wins, praising a job well done, and rewarding great performances are all examples of positive accountability. This step not only reduces turnover, but it also increases profitability and makes work a more enjoyable place to be.

P3: Performance Accountability

This is more what you think of when you think about accountability. You know, like “holding someone accountable” for their actions? However, done wrong and you’ll just be inviting your team to resist and resent your leadership. You don’t need shame to hold someone accountable. Performance Accountability allows you to coach your staff instead of penalizing them for their mistakes. Your employees need to know that you have faith in them. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with an unmotivated and unstable workforce. 

Before giving this program a go, know that you must follow the 3Ps in order. If you jump around, you’ll be missing the foundation needed to make this work. Without a strong footing based on your own accountability and positivity, focussing on performance will come across as strict and unreasonable. No one will want to work with you, and you can forget about them giving you their best. 

Starting with P1 (personal), then P2 (positive) correctly will allow P3 (performance) to naturally follow. You’ll be equipped with the tools you need to get the results you want.

Don’t Manage. Lead.

Performance Accountability touches on the traditional notions of accountability: hitting targets, following rules, and discipline. But the 3Ps don’t rely on asserting authority over your employees, they rely on coaching them instead.

Steve Jobs once said, “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push and make them even better.” That’s coaching. It’s building up your team when they’re down and celebrating their wins for the hard-fought victories that they are. This mindset is key to making people successful. Not always happy, but successful. For example: when I tell my kids to finish their chores, I’m teaching them to finish a job. They may not be happy about it at that moment, but the habits they form now are going to lead them to success later. I do this for them out of love.

To coach is to motivate, and the 3Ps are designed to help you guide your employees toward improvement and reliability. You’ll find that showing genuine loyalty to your team can influence the way that they perform. It will prompt them to do better. 

Sixty years ago, they would have called me crazy for suggesting that we get personal and positive at the office, but that attitude is changing. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still so much more we need to do to create respectful and humane workplaces that are as enriching as they are productive. The 3Ps are my answer to that call. Give them a try. If you’re struggling in your leadership, I can guarantee that accountability will help you get back on track. I’ve not only seen it work for innumerable others, but my own success is a testament. Ready, Set, Go!

About the Author:

Hernani Alves is an Amazon best selling author, international speaker, and consultant with over twenty years of business experience as a Sales Executive for a $3 Billion Company. He’s the founder of Balanced IQ, a company that helps leaders build world-class teams focused on getting sustainable results in varying economic climates.

In his book, Balanced Accountability: Three Leadership Secrets to Win Hearts and Maximize Performance, Alves delivers a newfound clarity on the case for accountability and the steps organizations, and individuals need to take to unleash their potential. He reveals the frame work needed to improve accountability in the workplace to win hearts and maximize performance.