As a leader, you are a role model of accountability. So what does it take for you to hold yourself accountable? To check how accountable you are as a leader, consider reflecting on the following questions after each (important) interaction:
Q1: What did I do that worked/didn’t work? Why?
Take stock of your actions/reactions. Be honest with yourself. If there was conflict or disappointment within the situation, resist the temptation to vindicate yourself. Even if you think you were justified in whatever you did or didn’t do, what could you have done differently to decrease the conflict or increase the satisfaction with the situation for yourself and others involved?
Q2: What do my actions/reactions tell me about myself? What patterns do I see?
Reflecting on how you responded or reacted helps you to spot patterns that can lead to personal insights about what’s driving your reactions (motivation, fears, and desires). Becoming aware of these deeper aspects of yourself and the behavioral patterns that emerge allows you to catch yourself in the act next time (or even before you act/react next time). This allows you to interject conscious thought to interrupt what might be a behavioral pattern that isn’t working for you. The split second it takes to think about what you are getting ready to do or say, allows you to exercise choice – the choice to stay stuck in our unconscious patterns or to consciously create new solutions without reacting unconsciously.
Q3: What excuses did I make (in my head or out loud) for bad results or failures?
Identify the “story” you tell yourself. What does this story say about the beliefs you have about yourself or others? Are those beliefs necessarily true? When you examine the stories you tell yourself, you might just find that your reactions are based on unfounded beliefs about the situation. When you unpack those unfounded beliefs, you might find that they aren’t that true. Yet, they can cause you a lot of anger or stress. In other words, you might not want to believe everything you think!
Q4: What did I do that might be part of my typical behavioral patterns?
Do you habitually tune out or retreat when stressed? Do you often come across as overly-critical of others? Do you consciously or unconsciously intimidate others? No matter your behavioral patterns, you’re probably doing unto others what you don’t want done to you. Be aware of these patterns and how they shape your interactions with others.
Q5: Who do I want to be? How do I want to come across instead?
Once you’ve identified behavioral patterns that aren’t serving you, try an alternative way of responding. Instead of frequently pushing yourself beyond your limits, what would happen if you took a breather once in a while or take a day off for fun? Instead of fearing you’ll disappoint others, what if you said “no” more often or tried voicing concerns? Instead of appearing intimidating, what would happen if you conceded a point to someone else without trying to justify yourself or let them “win”? Letting go of your usual way of being and doing is a practice that can help you realize that your typical maladaptive behaviors may have served you when you were younger, but they just might be getting in the way today.
Use these questions to raise your self-awareness. When you do, you’ll become more accountable to yourself and to your team. The more you model what real accountability is, the more likely your employees are to own their results without excuse, too.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, BLOG OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this information with it: Beth Strathman works with leaders as they evolve into the leader they are meant to become and learn to maximize the people side of business. Learn more about her at: firebrandconsultingllc.com.