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.

Hernani Alves

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