Accountability Keeps Us Moving

It’s safe to say that the last month has kicked us way out of our comfort zones and the routines we took for granted. This crisis has also disrupted the way leaders are interacting with their teams, and not just in the working-from-home sense. We’ve had quite a few conversations lately that went like this: 

Coach: How’s your team doing this week? 

Leader: Okay I guess, although I’m a little worried about Amy. 

Coach: What’s going on with Amy? 

Leader:  Well, to be honest, she doesn’t seem to be adapting very well to working remotely. She doesn’t seem to be getting her work done. Actually, I’m not sure what she’s working on. 

Coach: What conversations have you and Amy had about this? 

Leader: Well, I haven’t said anything to her about it yet. You know how crazy things have been. And I just didn’t want to stress her out more than she is already…. 

It’s true that with much of the world on lockdown, people are feeling anxious and vulnerable. Business leaders are right to be concerned with people’s comfort and security. But leaders also have a responsibility to help their teams stay connected and adapt to new ways of working. That’s where accountability comes in. 

In our experience, real accountability is less about holding people accountable and more about helping them be accountable. Accountability isn’t punitive; it’s preventative. And the factors that create accountability are exactly what our teams need right now. 

  • Autonomy – At a time when people don’t have much choice about their situation, accountability offers options. It may be counter-intuitive, but the less a leader controls, the more accountable people will be. Autonomy decreases stress and increases motivation by engaging people in work that matters to them. 
  • Connection – Regular, ongoing communication is an embedded principle of accountability. When you collaborate with people to set goals and then check back on what they’re doing, it paves the way for accountability. Those regular check-ins also create a new working rhythm and demonstrate that you care. 
  • Clarity – When it’s noisy and chaotic (and it’s certainly that right now) focus creates calm. What’s the company’s rallying cry for the month? What’s the team’s call to action for the week? What’s my priority for today and tomorrow? The answers will help every employee find clarity and be more accountable. 

Accountability isn’t a burden. It’s what keeps us moving through times of uncertainty instead of becoming immobilized. Over here at Tandem Partners, we’re cheering you on. Please let us know how we can help. 



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