What is Accountability? Accountability = Love
Published 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.