The ability to be accountable for vision, clarity, action and results is the hallmark of effective leadership. A true leader will hold herself accountable, even in the face of the most challenging circumstances. She knows that true control starts first with herself. Her outer world will reflect her inner world. She knows that she cannot control others; doing so will only create resistance and eventual resentment. Even if she can manage to obtain cooperation in the short-term, it won’t be sustainable. What isn’t sustainable in the long run leads to disintegration and disease. Our bodies and organizations are rampant with this reminder.
A leader who creates a culture of accountability will be at the helm of a health culture; one in which there is respectful, honest communication. People may not agree, but they have the competencies to disagree in an agreeable manner. They know how to engage and converse. They know how to make effective requests and promises. They know what a commitment sounds like. They engage without blame, shame or criticism. They know that others are not there to serve them; they know they are there to co-create. They know that in so doing, the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts. They know that they can sustain it. This is the kind of leadership we long for and are bringing forth. It is natural. It is leadership from the core.
Look Under the Wellness Hood
Well-being is physical, mental and emotional. As an executive coach who works with high-performing, motivated leaders, one of the first places I look under the hood is “wellness”. Leaders without accountability will experience challenges in one or more of these realms. Emotional breakdowns often surface as overwhelming. Physical breakdowns appear in the body, often the by-product of unhealthy patterns of thought and action.
What can be done? First, assess. Explore where you are and what is true right now. Rate yourself on a 1-10 scale for the following questions. Be honest about what is so now, not what was once true, or what you wish to be true in the future.
How healthy are you? What do you do to take care of yourself? How do you actively practice relieving stress? How satisfying are your relationships? What repeatedly upsets you? How high is your energy bank account? Are you living on “reserves,” having overdrawn continually?
Powerful questions are a very simple tool in the accountability arsenal.
A few simple questions and a pattern emerges. If you have an accountability system in place, you will have positive responses. If not, there is an accountability “leak” somewhere in the system.
Next get clear. What is your vision? What matters most? Do you know what you need to focus on? Are you doing that? If not, what is getting in the way? What do you need in way of resources or support? Who can assist you?
Powerful questions are a very simple tool in the accountability arsenal. What happens next is often a mindset shift from one in which external events “happen “ and you “react” (a.k.a. “victim”), to one of personal responsibility. In this paradigm you envision, intend, and act in order to create what you desire. Research shows that making a declaration and having an accountability appointment help a lot.
Simply being accountable to yourself for what you really want is an empowering way to live. And, you model that possibility for everyone around you.
The conscious, awake and accountable leader takes responsibility for her own internal patterns and dialogue. She focuses on “being” and then on “acting” — not the other way around. Force and coercion are not her tools; wisdom, intuition and deep listening are. She evokes the best in creativity from herself and others because she acts in accordance with her true power.
She is healthy and vibrant, if not radiant. She is well, both inside and out. It is her birthright, as it is yours.
We acknowledge the potential each person has to develop this capacity, and hope that our world is shaped by leaders who are
integrated, healthy, and accountable.
Latest posts by Susan Freeman (see all)
- What Does it Mean to Be a Balanced Leader? - January 15, 2016
- Survival Guide to Holiday Happiness: 7 Steps To Success, Satisfaction, and Serenity - December 14, 2015
- Are You an Appreciative Leader? - October 29, 2015