My first management position provided several opportunities for mismanagement and poor leadership. Much of what I’ve learned from leadership I learned after having made many mistakes over that 2 year stint. I regret learning things the hard way and the difficulty I caused for my team.
To change our leadership, we must adjust our attitudes and ideas first. My first attitude adjustment was to focus on others. Once I started adjusting my attitude, I found a another ideas necessary to complete my leadership transformation. I needed to demonstrate transparent accountability.
Transparent means having nothing to hide. Being accountable means that I remember my commitments and honor them. Hiding things requires energy. We must work to keep our stories straight or we must remember what we said or didn’t say. And if I wanted my team to be accountable, I figured it would have to start with me. I’ve never been one for double standards.
So I adopted an idea of accountability and became accountable to my team. My job and my career gained new life when I chose to help our energized, motivated team members achieve their version of success. For the whole team, I became as transparent as I could be. For each team member, I communicated our vision and the facts of our situation and gave them the respect and the opportunity to join in the effort to make the business successful. Those high-performing team members took the opportunity and made great choices. They brought great energy and effort to our work.
Our not-so-high performers self identified too. Given the opportunity to do what was best for the team, they repeatedly chose to do what appeared to be best for themselves in the short run. A few stole and were let go. A few were released due to performance issues. A few others simply found some place else to be. The transparent accountability we created in that office helped me have the energy to do my job.
Transparent accountability requires we evaluate ourselves the way our peers, reports and leaders will evaluate us. We must develop their perspective, and empathize with how our performance is affecting their situation. Then we must be the first to ask for help, or propose the methods for changing the situation.
I’m a number of years past that first management position, but even today, my team is under-performing. It’s not their fault as much as it is mine and the situation they’re in. As the leader, I must address the situation for my leaders and develop a plan. Once finalized, I must get the resources necessary and execute the plan. Only this strategy will make our team and our most energized and motivated team members successful.
What can you do today to manage yourself with transparent accountability? It will provide an opportunity for you to earn credibility with your team, peers and leaders.
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