Thursday, May 12, 2011

Man Up

There is a dynamic going on in the workplace today: a shortage of people willing to step up and own their behaviors. The way it plays out is in employee’s who blame others for their failures, get defensive, deflect responsibility, or claim ignorance. There is a link between Self-Awareness and being accountable for our behavior. It requires self-reflection, and it requires seeing ourselves from another point of view. It requires manning up to apologize, even if not for the content of your message but for how you botched its delivery. Self-awareness helps you sense when your behavior is being disruptive and making efforts to remove yourself or use your self-control to minimize the negative impact on others.

To increase Accountability:

Be a leader, role model for your team how to say, “I had no intention of misleading you, I don’t think I was clear with my expectations and I am sorry it created confusion for you.”

Stop telling people what to do: if they are simply carrying out your directives, it makes it impossible for them to take any ownership of its outcome or for you to hold them accountable.

Be self-deprecating. Don’t take yourself so seriously that you get defensive when given feedback. Be able to laugh at your own mistakes, especially in front of your team.

Any time you end up in a conflict or a difficult confrontation, really consider the part you played in it. Almost always, people’s bad behavior is the reaction to something you have done (usually unintentionally). So reflect on what you did to get such a reaction from them, and own up to it with them and apologize.

Watch the blame game. No one wants to work with someone who is always pointing fingers at others as explanation for their own failure. Do people let us down? Yes.
Does workload sometimes feel unfair? Yes. Deal with it.

I really hope if you are in a leadership role that you will try some of these suggestions. You hold the power to change the behavior in your whole lead team by doing so.