Be a Passion
Maker: Become an accountability leader and
inspire your team to exceed its goals
Passion within the workplace -- does the topic get your
attention? It should, but not because this article addresses
romantic relationships at the office. We’re talking about company
leaders creating passion -- as in a boundless, extremely fervent
fondness and commitment -- for the job and company. In fact, in
every organization, one of the major roles of the leader is be a
passion maker, or someone who is responsible for developing and
inspiring enthusiasm within the entire chain of command.
One of the most powerful ways successful leaders create
passion is by setting up an effective system of accountability,
which is measuring performance and taking appropriate action.
Understanding the crucial role of accountability in the workplace,
and using it to drive a business’ success and impassion its workers,
is more than possible – and that’s the best-kept secret when it
comes to top-of-the-line leadership.
Simpler said than done, a lack of accountability is one of
the biggest reasons why companies struggle and sometimes fail.
Oftentimes, it’s not managed consistently and fairly because leaders
focus on the negative -- people mistakenly associate it with only
discipline and punishment. In today’s business environment many CEOs
and managers are feeling the pain related to this lack of
accountability, and, consequently, company “sins” are surfacing.
These business leaders need to take immediate corrective action to
create strategic alignment to their vital goals and drive
performance through a strong accountability system.
A Closer Look at
the Accountable Workplace:
One way to understand accountability is to examine a workplace that
doesn’t have any. What does it look like? When there’s a lack of
accountability, a company tends to resemble what’s called a “country
club,” as opposed to a “jail-like,” culture. The “A players” often
end up leaving because they crave and deserve accountability, and so
get frustrated when good performers aren’t recognized and poor
performers aren’t held accountable. Conversely, such businesses
struggle to attract top talent because those types of workers want
to be in an environment that values accountability.
In addition, the company without accountability doesn’t
perform to its potential, and standards are allowed to slip low.
Things just don’t get done, and because the organization isn’t
performing as is expected, morale suffers, too. People who shouldn’t
be there drag the company culture down, and complacency and
mediocrity are accepted. As a result, more and more of the
responsibilities weigh on the shoulders of the company leader, the
superhero who carries the full burden of the organization and is
often over-whelmed because he or she hasn’t pushed accountability
down into the lower tiers of responsibility.
On the other hand, a company with thriving accountability
looks quite different. Accountability enables a leader to create
ownership for the company on behalf of its workers. That means
developing ownership for problems, successes, goals, initiatives,
people and results -- aka, getting things done. Accountability sets
the controls in place, drives the business and indicates what is and
what isn’t on track. Through accountability, leaders always make
three important discoveries: 1) whether they’re on the right course;
2) whether they’ve got the right people and in the right places; and
3) whether they’re achieving goals. With these findings, leaders
gain insight on instituting change and setting new objectives.
How Passion Plays
Into the Accountability Picture:
Accountability holds leaders to the task of clearly defining
goals for the company and its people, as well as establishing
measurements to assess those goals and define success. And it’s this
accountability that provides an opportunity to assign ownership to
company and personal performance objectives, measure results, and
follow through with objective evaluations.
When people own a piece in the goal-setting puzzle and
achieve what they set out to do, this is highly rewarding for each
individual involved. Even more so, however, is when the leader
follows through with positive recognition, acknowledging the team
players for their achievement. The result of this is people become
impassioned about their role in the company’s welfare and their own
professional development -- something that is actually quite
personal and close to the heart. This newfound passion is the driver
for productivity. It incites people to work harder, dream bigger and
excel beyond their wildest imaginations.
Accountability can be a highly positive experience for a
leader, its team players and the company at large, which is contrary
to the notion that accountability connotes something “negative.”
Often associated with the term “feedback” and viewed as derogatory
if results have not been accomplished, accountability can provide
opportunities to coach someone, counsel that person and enable
growth. It also provides leaders with the chance to develop their
own skills, such as learning how to have difficult conversations
about poor performance. Accountability provides the chance for all
to improve upon their weaknesses, and position and propel a business
toward a place of prosperity. It’s this uplifting, highly positive
and evolutionary experience that creates passion in the workplace.
It’s simply become an invigorating place to be.
be a possibility for your company, only if several common roadblocks
are avoided. First, whether you’re a company owner, manager or team
leader, set aside the natural tendency to confuse accountability
with not being liked. In your position, avoid crossing the line of
getting too close to people. Instead, focus on earning the respect
-- not friendship -- of professional peers. Remember, when it comes
to infusing passion into the workplace, your job is to create
loyalty to the company, not loyalty to you.
Second, you will be seriously challenged if you fail to set
goals and expectations on a continual basis. Equally important is
making sure people understand the goals and expectations, and what’s
required of them. Everyone involved needs good goal criteria, for
example, not just measuring the number of activities but the
Third and lastly, you can’t get complacent because clients
are not complacent, the market isn’t complacent, investors aren’t
complacent, and so forth. Strong leaders recognize that when success
results, the bar must be raised. When it’s not, passion will wane,
and productivity will be at-risk. Sure, this will be a challenge in
and of itself, but if a company doesn’t grow, it dies. Your ultimate
job is to build and sustain a thriving organization. And one thing
is for sure: Creating passion through accountability is arguably one
of the most important, best-kept secrets you must know to achieve
such a track-record of success.
A Checklist to
Establish clear goals and expectations. Always set standards for
performance, and put policies and procedures in place.
sure you’ve got accountability leaders within the organization.
These will be those managers who challenge the drive and performance
of other employees and measure the results.
Foster an organization of candor. Transparent, honest communications
enable people to provide feedback about their performance and limit
the opportunity to hedge around an issue.
Develop and implement a follow-up system of accountability, which
allows for regular meetings that measure and track performance,
productivity and results.
on the vital Few instead of the trivial many when setting company
goals. Do the same for individual goals, those set by each employee.
the proper rewards and recognition in place. Remember, these don’t
always have to be monetary in nature. Verbal praise, both in the
private and public setting, is highly appreciated and motivating.
Define ownership of each new process and procedure you establish.
Develop the leadership pipeline. Accountability starts at the top of
the organization and works itself down. CEOs and mangers must strive
to perfect their own leadership skills and accountability before
expecting others within the organization to do the same.
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