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Be Accountable

Some of you may be thinking, how does last week’s post on “Be Flexible” relate to the idea of “Be Accountable”? Aren’t they totally different things and potentially incompatible? Actually, no!  As leaders of teams, coalitions and non-profits, it’s vitally important that we show flexibility AND accountability. If we lose sight of our goals and objectives and don’t hold each other accountable, we won’t be able to make the kind of BIG impact we would like to make. However, if we do that at the expense of the people around us without showing any flexibility, that is also a problem and we won’t have anyone willing to be part of our teams or coalitions!  Join me this week as I provide 3 suggestions on how you can help yourself and your team be accountable without compromising your people!

  1. Set realistic timelines for your goals and objectives.  For those who know me well, you know this is an ongoing challenge. 🙂 I also know that it is REALLY important to consider what it will really take – including some margin and flexibility – to accomplish your goals and objectives. When you set realistic goals and objectives, then you can be a little flexible in the day-to-day but you are still holding one another accountable for the overall goals and objectives. If you are not good at this, ask your team or coalition members to provide some perspective. Encourage them to be honest. When you come up with an agreed upon realistic timeline then work together to hold one another accountable to it!  
  2. Check in with your team regularly. One of the reasons that we struggle with accomplishing our goals and objectives is that we assume that folks know what they need to be doing and that they are doing it. This is particularly problematic; however, when most of your coalition members are volunteers and have other full-time jobs. You have to check in with your team!  This can be a brief 30 minute video chat or even an email with just a few bullet points. Ask some questions – how are things going, what has worked well, what isn’t going as planned? If you check in regularly, you keep people accountable AND you figure out what might need to be changed or adjusted in order to meet your goals and objectives. And remember, many of these people don’t actually “work” for you so be sure you are approachable and supportive rather than demanding and aggressive in your approach. 🙂
  3. Celebrate successes. One of the best ways to keep people accountable is to celebrate successes. Everyone likes to be part of a “winning” team and also likes to be part of making an impact. When we take the time to celebrate successes – even small successes along the way – we are helping our teams and coalitions be more accountable.  We can highlight the great contributions of individual team members as well as the entire team. Other team members will be inspired to be part of the “credit sharing” and success and will be more likely to be accountable for roles and responsibilities in the projects.

So what about you? What has worked for you in helping your team, coalition or nonprofit be accountable?

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