Good leaders are accountable and great leaders are fanatical about personal accountability. So much so that some extremely accountable leaders believe they can control the world spinning on its axis if their success was dependent. This results in two incredible valuable traits of the extremely accountable leader:
- Extreme personal accountability allows the leader to problem solve quicker by narrowing the solution set. If I must depend on something or someone else to be successful than I need to take another route to find the solution.
- Secondly, it allows the successful leader to be more decisive. The worse decision one can ever make is indecision, but when the solution to a problem is that I must act than I can do that NOW. I don’t need to wait for others. So my decisive decisions can be enacted quicker.
Here are 10 things that accountable leaders NEVER say. Simply by purging these statements from your vocabulary, you will improve your decision making skills and overall leadership abilities:
- “Shit happens” – Nothing happens to the extreme accountable leader. It happens because they made it happen. As a result there is no good or bad things that occur; it’s only good or bad in terms of a perception. If something is perceived as bad, then the accountable leader will pivot the inputs to produce a better output.
- “Not my fault” – Everything is the fault of the accountable leader. Taking pride in success necessitates taking ownership of failure. It can’t go both ways. But most people attribute success to something they did and failure to something that was done to them. The accountable leader loathes this belief.
- “What are you going to do about it” – Accountable leaders take ownership. They delegate clearly and effectively but view that delegation as leverage of his or her own self and abilities. Therefore, when a problem is presented, they get involved in the solution definition immediately.
- “They were a bad hire” – When someone on the team quits after being on the payroll for a year, the accountable leader never claims that the person was a bad hire as that pushes the failure onto the person leaving. The accountable leader instead will micro analyze the hiring, onboarding and engagement process with the employee to determine meaningful ways in which the accountable leader can improve the processes to minimize the opportunity for reoccurrence.
- “It’s a tough economy” – Some of the greatest opportunities are presented in tough times to the accountable leader. Blaming the economy, government, changing buyer habits all produce a fatalistic notion of conducting business. The accountable leader seizes those opportunities when others are retrenching and actively looks for ways to leverage and arbitrage those situations to the leader’s advantage.
- “It’s what our CEO wants to do” – Pushing accountability to someone else typically manifests itself during tough conversations such as when an employee asks why her raise was lower this year than last. Deferring accountability to someone else in the organization results in devaluing the credibility of the leader and is never done by accountable leaders. When a decision is made up the chain of command, the accountable leaders owns that decision so much that they believe the in fact made the decision themselves.
- “We don’t have the budget” – Like blaming the CEO, this one is all about blaming the CFO. There is always budget to do what is right. If I asked to borrow $100 from you, you might tell me you don’t have the money. If I asked to borrow $100 from you and told you that I would give you $200 in return next week, you’d find the money to loan. The problem is never the lack of budget. The problem is always the ability of the leader to influence his ideas.
- “I sent it to you in an email” – The average person gets almost 200 emails a day. The accountable leader never relies on email as a sole communication platform. Influence requires multiple communication paths and email is simply one of those. But the accountable leader never assumes that their email was read nonetheless interpreted as it was meant.
- “I left them a voice mail and they never called me back” – The accountable leader gets people on the phone. She understand that just because she needs to talk so someone doesn’t mean that the other party will take the time. The accountable leader is relentless about this and her perseverance can seem extreme and unrelenting until she gets the call back.
- “That’s impossible” – The accountable leader lives the quote by Audrey Hepburn, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself means ‘I’m possible.” Just because it hasn’t been done before excites the accountable leader into action. Believing something is impossible results in inaction and the accountable leader always creates action.
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