Holding oneself accountable is more than a slogan or bumper sticker. A fundamental tenet extraordinary leaders embrace is that the degree to which they hold themselves accountable dictates the extent of their empowerment and ability to effect positive change. When this perspective is primary, it forwards actions and builds trust. When it’s absent, it not only feeds a blame game but narrows executives’ perspectives about how to make an impact.
This principle reverberates through many aspects of strategic execution. “So-and-so department is in charge of that project and we’re just waiting for them (to get their act together)” is a perspective that dictates a lack of empowerment. Contrast that with, “Yep, they’re assigned this project and yet I know they need help, so we will step in.”
As a common yet largely underappreciated example, we hold that you are accountable for managing your mood. Period. It’s easy to rationalize a bad mood by pointing to a stressful work assignment, a pushy colleague or a harried commute. But that looming deadline and the driver who cut you off on the highway don’t have the authority to determine your emotional outlook and attitude for the rest of the day.
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