Extracted from The Effectiveness Guide:
Why is Accountability Important to Your Career?
Another way to become more effective is by becoming accountable for your individual performance (behavior and results) and their consequences. Accountability is often confused with responsibility and is normally not a problem until something goes wrong.
For example, if something goes wrong within your area of responsibility, you will get the opportunity to explain to your leader what happened and what is being done to ensure it never happens again. Sometimes, depending on the severity of the problem, your leader will not be happy with you.
When things go wrong, don’t take it personally, take it professionally and fix it.
What most people don’t understand is that Responsibility and Accountability go together; they’re part of the same iceberg.
Unfortunately, you can’t see the Accountability part of the iceberg, because it lies hidden beneath the surface, until something goes wrong. When things go wrong, which they will, your leader’s job is to ask you for an explanation.
Your leader expects you to know or to find out three things; what happened, what caused it to happen, and what are you going to do to fix it, so it never happens again?
Effective leaders understand that things will go wrong. All they want you to do is to step up, find out what happened, report what caused it, and what is being done to fix it.
Or, if you cannot fix it, what do you recommend be done so it never happens again.
What your leader doesn’t need is for you to play the blame game, make excuses, or hide the truth.
Instead take these four actions:
- Investigate – what happened and what caused it to happen?
- Return and Report – Report to your leader the facts and your recommendation.
- Fix it – Fix it for good!
- Return and Report – when fixed, report the fix to your leader.
Establish the reputation for being a good problem solver as well as a good problem finder. Leader’s like it when you anticipate problems before they become a crisis. Your job is to help your leader find, fix, and eliminate all distractions or obstacles that could slow or stop the achievement of his goals.
We all make mistakes. This is how we learn. However, mistakes, errors, and defects are not a problem if they’re caught and fixed before they leave your unit.
The acid test for accountability is the absence of blaming others and making excuses.
What systems (checks, procedures, rehearsals, preventive actions, QC, or Testing) are in place to catch mistakes and errors before they leave your unit?
Next weeks post from The Effectiveness Guide will be Section 2.4. How can you contribute to your leader’s meetings?
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Stop wishing you were better and do something about it today!