KEY POINTS PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED ABOUT LEADERSHIP ACCOUNTABILITY
Accountability is the actions, attitude, and effort necessary to merge expectations with performance.
Understanding who controls the expectations and who controls the performance is key to understanding leadership accountability.
Leadership accountability is all about ME. It start with ME. It sustains with ME. It grows with ME. It can be ended by ME. My ACTIONS, ATTITUDE, and EFFORT.
Before I can even begin to discuss control versus influence, we must be on the same page regarding the Dynamics of Human Interactions. Whether we are discussing leadership accountability, a use of force situation, handling a “routine” call for service, or any other leadership situation, the same three components always come into play.
As a leader, I must understand these dynamics in order to truly comprehend what I control and what I influence in the world around me. The most significant mistakes ever made in leadership commonly originate from the leader attempting to control something they do not truly have control over. If they had merely asked themself, “How can I influence this?” interaction with this other person or circumstance, the situation may have turned out much differently.
In every interaction we have as human beings, there are three basic components: ME, OTHER PEOPLE, and the CIRCUMSTANCES that bring us together.
Of these three components, it is vital that I recognize and understand there is only one of these that I have true control over – MYSELF. I cannot control other people and I cannot control the circumstances that brought everything together. So, within myself, the things I truly have control over are my actions, my attitude, and my effort.
- What actions do I have the ability to take? Options?
- What attitude is the best approach for the situation?
- How much effort is necessary to properly handle this situation?
If I take responsibility for and own my actions, attitude, and effort, then I also have to accept that I control my Reactions to the external components of these Dynamics of Human Interactions. As information comes in from Other People, Circumstances, and their Interactions, I must accept that I have NO control over them at all. I initially can only control my reactions to the information coming in about them through the actions, attitude, and effort I CHOOSE to respond with.
But, this is not easy. I, as a human being, am an emotional and reactional creature by nature. It has been programmed into me over thousands of years to survive. Sometimes those survival instincts are beneficial and sometimes they are not. When my survival instincts tell me to strike back quickly, act in a manner that is solely based upon self-preservation, and is the path of least resistance, then I must find a way to freeze the moment and remember what I control. This is especially true in leadership situations.
I must accept I cannot CONTROL Other People, Circumstances, and their Interactions. As a leader, I must also accept I can INFLUENCE them. By recognizing that my actions, my attitude, and my effort are the tools I possess to positively influence them, I can begin to see leadership situations in a much different light. The greater my influence, the greater my leadership. The greater my leadership, the more vital it becomes for me to act consistently to maximize my influence.
How do I maximize my influence in regards to leadership accountability? I practice personal accountability myself day in and day out by controlling that which I control. I set clear expectations that provide a vision of the future, not just repeat rules and policies. I provide training, instruction, coaching, counselling, and mentoring. I discipline when necessary to educate, not punish. Finally, I recognize good work and positively reinforce it every chance I get. All of these are methods for me to influence those I lead and the circumstances I am a part of through my actions, my attitude, and my effort.
Whenever I find myself feeling stress while handling a situation of leadership, I simply hit my mental pause button and change the internal question I am asking myself from “How can I control this?” to “How can I influence this?” Suddenly, the feelings of stress and anxiety begin to dissipate and I begin working with what I control – MYSELF.
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Continue saving the world one call at a time and as always, LEAD ON!