The Point:  Accountability is good.  Accountability is not enough.

As servant leaders, our calling is to set people up for success, hold them accountable for success and then celebrate success.  Over the past decade, an over-emphasis has been placed on the middle part of this progression.  Accountability is a buzz word that sells books, books speakers and leads to a variety of outcomes—not all of which are good.

Accountability is important.  Accountability does not function well in isolation.

To hold someone accountable without providing clear communication and effective training is ineffective and unfair.

There is an old story called “Bring Me a Rock.”  
In it, a leader says to a subordinate, “Bring me a rock.”  The employee complies and hears, “No!  Not that that size rock, I need a much bigger rock.”
The second attempt is not acceptable either.
“No!  That rock is the wrong color, and it is still too small.”

It does not take long for the employee to become tempted to deliver the rock in a more forceful way!  Clear communication and effective training prevent the frustrating reality of “bring me a rock.”

Accountability in the absence of celebrated success is demoralizing.  When effort is ignored, and sacrifices are taken for granted, both tend to fade.
Questions like “How can I help?” are replaced with questions like,
“How little can I get away with?”

Leaders who care about employees tend to have employees who care about the work.  It is a positive by-product of a positive reality.  Servant leaders care about those they lead.  They want to see them succeed.  Employees of servant leaders know that their work is valuable and that progress is celebrated.  They can see that their work matters to the organization and that their well-being is important to their leaders.

Remember to live up to your calling.  Set employees up for success, hold them accountable for success and then celebrate success.  This allows accountability to function in healthy context.

Mike Gibson
MRG Presentations, LLC
Training the Brain for Behavioral Change