three circles

3 Rings of Accountability

Leaders at all levels share some common responsibilities. It doesn’t matter whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 or the owner of a small shop in the local town. You have some common threads that weave the fabric of who and what you need to be as a leader.

In a recent post I introduced the three circles of leadership.

This model describes and contrasts the leader you want to be vs the leader the company needs you to be vs the leader your team expects. Seldom do those three circles fully overlap. There is always movement within the model.

Leveraging these three principles, I want to present you with a similar thought about accountability.

Holding yourself, the company and your team accountable requires nimble action and reaction from the leader.

First, let’s talk about accountability at the company level. If you own the company, you have full control over accountability. How will you serve clients and customers?

What standards will you set and follow? Follow-through is key here. You must drive the accountability for the standards you set. If you say you want to be a premier customer service experience, then train that, monitor that, and adjust it as needs arise.

If you are a senior leader in a larger company, you can still contribute to the accountability for standards that have been targeted. You need to use the same methods an owner would apply.

Next is accountability to your team. The people who work for you expect you to lead, not just manage. I’ve said it before, “Management is about the process, Leadership is about people.”

You can turn the dials and apply pressure to the process to get things done. Yet if you really want a superior organization, you have to lead the people.

Being accountable as their leader means you will show up every day ready and willing to be the best you can be for their sake.

Lastly, let’s talk about accountability to yourself. This is the hard one. There are so many clever sayings about character and integrity.

“Character is what you do when no one is looking” is a big one for me. The story I tell myself guides and directs who and what I become.

That story that plays on the continuous loop in our heads is what shapes the leader we either will or won’t be. Being accountable to self means dealing with that tape.

Change the message if the results you see are not what you expect. Get a new message playing in your head. That is true accountability.

Habits are hard to break, we all know that. But being an accountable leader means you will make the effort and take the time to do just that, break old, unfulfilling habits. Find new ways to connect, communicate, and lead.

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