Trust is key element to knowing when personal accountability has been reached
Last month I devoted the column to the final step of The Leadership Pledge, “accepting accountability and responsibility for individual performance.”
Personal accountability is a subject that has been written about and debated since Adam and Eve. Some would argue, and with good reason, that it is at the heart of the economic nightmare we face as a nation and the world. Like most issues we confront, not only in the workplace but in all aspects of our society, there is always a very simple answer to issues that most people want to complicate. When do we know personal accountability is alive and well in an organization? And how do we measure it?
As I share in my book, “10 Truths About Leadership … It’s Not Just About Winning,” we had developed our five disciplines of The Leadership Pledge, including finding people who possessed both character and talent and who had a high probability of being successful, providing them with the tools to do their job, telling them what we expect, and sharing honest feedback.
But I struggled with how to help our people know what it looked like and felt like when they truly accepted accountability and responsibility for their own performance as the fifth and final step.
It wasn’t clear to me as how to measure success or failure in this area until I heard Coach Lou Holtz, the retired Notre Dame football coach and one of my favorite people, share his thoughts on this subject from his book, “Winning Ways.” I knew instantaneously that his three questions: “Can I trust you?”, “Are you committed to excellence?”, and “Do you care about me?”, were getting me closer to the answer.
Trust and commitment were a natural fit, but we had made the third issue of caring about “me” (love), a prerequisite in our journey long before we became concerned about measuring accountability. I knew the third one had to focus on corporate culture, an important part of what made The Berry Co. special — employees feeling valued, respected, and part of something special. If we were going to preserve that special culture then loyalty — which I’ll cover in a later column — had to be the third leg of the stool that would define accountability.
So let’s start with trust. The first thing we must ask ourselves if we want to know if someone is truly accountable starts with asking the question, “Can I trust you?” Is there anything more important in any relationship personal or professional? The answer is an unequivocal no!
I want to revisit a comment that I shared with you in last month’s article because it is tantamount to the trust issue. Regardless of whether the other person in a relationship is an employee, a customer, a peer, a supplier, a life partner or your teenage child, you cannot ask for something you are not willing to give.
Trust only happens in a relationship when we effectively manage our half of a relationship exhibiting trust in all aspects.
In a world where greed, instant gratification, self-indulgence and winning at all cost have become prevalent, trusting relationships have dwindled. It’s only when we earn trust from our employees, spouses, our children, our partners, our athletes, our students, our peers, our patients and our friends can we expect it in return.
Truth #7 tells us, “That if we have no trust, we have not relationship.” I can assure that no relationship, either professional or personal, can survive without it. There can be nothing more critical to successful relationships than our willingness to trust one another. Trust only happens when leaders are transparent, candid and keep their word. Candidness is only an asset when it is delivered in a thoughtful and caring manner. Caring simply means that you are personally invested to a point that you’ll make the difficult decision to preserve people’s integrity and the principles of the organization.
Being accountable for outcomes must start and end with trust. The survival rate without it is zero.
Pete Luongo is retired president and CEO of The Berry Co., Leader, Lecturer, Public Speaker and Author of “10 Truths About Leadership … It’s Not Just About Winning”. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the original article here.