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Accountability Allows Leadership

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Accountability Allows Leadership A senior manager recently asked what the difference was between a manager and a leader. I told her:

"A manager is responsible for taking care of the here and now. A manager ensures the resources are used efficiently, and plans for maximum utilization of staff, equipment, materials, and capital. A manager knows how to multi-task and deal with ever-shifting priorities.

 

A leader focuses on "What's coming next and how to take advantage of it?"

Given that definition, she said, "I'm definitely not a leader. I don't have time to think about what's next. I'm overwhelmed trying to keep the here and now under control. How do I find the time to lead?"

For most people, you can't lead until you've taught others how to manage. Until you free up time and your mental capacity to focus on "What's next?" it's terribly difficult to become an effective leader. Many people try to do both and end up being stressed out managers with limited effectiveness planning for the future. They weaken themselves in both arenas.

So, how can this senior manager become a leader?

She needs to start holding her managers accountable to do the tough things good managers do: have necessary conversations with staff who are not performing well, deal with the unhappy customers to resolve company-created problems, make difficult and risky decisions concerning resources, and track their departmental goals with their staffs to ensure the entire organization continues to move towards its vision. Until her managers are held accountable to do their jobs and manage effectively, this senior manager won't be able to free herself up enough to lead effectively. Until she's ready to be a solid manager herself (and have those difficult conversations with her own staff), she won't be positioned to move to the next phase of professional growth and become a leader.

If you're faced with the same dilemma as this senior manager and don't have time to plan for the future, ask yourself, "What do I spend most of my time doing now?"

If you spend the bulk of your time doing the work your managers or supervisors should be doing, you may need to start holding yourself and others accountable.

 

Copyright MMVII Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.

 

Liz Weber CMCLiz Weber, CMC CSP

Liz Weber coaches, consults, and trains leadership teams. She specializes in strategic and succession planning, and leadership development.

Liz is one of fewer than 100 people in the U.S. to hold both the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designations.

Contact Liz’s office at +1.717.597.8890 for more info on how Liz can help you, or click here to have Liz’s office contact you.


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6 thoughts on “Accountability Allows Leadership”

  1. PM Hut says:

    Hi Liz,

    I disagree, in part, with your last statement. While the first part "holding yourself accountable" is, from my perspective, the right thing to do, the last part, "holding others accountable", is not the characteristics of a leader. It's like searching for a scapegoat instead of the real reasons of why something went wrong...

    1. Liz Weber says:

      Thanks for commenting, but I maintain my points. Why can't a leader hold others accountable? That's not being mean, that's what a leader does: gets the right people together, identifies their skills, aligns their roles, and holds them accountable to fulfill the roles they've agreed to perform -- that's how they all succeed as a team. Leaders are fair in holding others accountable; they clearly identify what behavior is veering off track and how it needs to be corrected -- that's being honest, truthful, and helpful. Leaders have the courage to speak the truth. Leaders don't seek scapegoats. If a leader makes a mistake him/herself, it's admitted. Similarly, if the leader sees another make a mistake, it's identified so it can be corrected. There's no "scapegoat" intent in there. Thanks again for taking the time to read and to comment. L

  2. Rose C says:

    Liz, I absolutely agree with you. A leader must hold others accountable. My favorite part of your blog posted here was theis statement:

    "For most people, you can’t lead until you’ve taught others how to manage. Until you free up time and your mental capacity to focus on “What’s next?” it’s terribly difficult to become an effective leader. Many people try to do both and end up being stressed out managers with limited effectiveness planning for the future. They weaken themselves in both arenas."

    As an entrepreneur in the business-world 5 years ago, I always felt like I went to upper management & spoke the truth. Problem was, no one ever wanted to listen. I am much happier now working on my own with some top-notch clients here in Jackson Hole like Snake River Brewing & The Bunnery. I enjoy their "A-ha!" moments & showing social media success for their business. I have another business too, doing my absolute passion: voice over. Moving to that business completely will come in the next few years!

    I found you via Twitter & have skimmed over some of your blog entries. I am absolutely riveted by what you are writing about leadership. I'm now your newest eZine subscriber. Kudos!

    Best,
    Rose

    1. Hi Rose! I'm so glad you found me and took the time to comment. Holding others accountable isn't being mean, it's part of the leaders responsibility to ensure the organization can move forward. When a leader holds his/her team accountable, the leader is better positioned to then do his/her true job - focus on the future and steer a successful course forward. Thanks again for sharing Rose & best of luck with your business ventures!

  3. rose antiporda says:

    hi liz, i agree that we ought to give other team leaders under you accountable for whatever job they need to accomplish. i was actually browsing the net finding answer to my question coz an asst manager of mine has considered doing insurance even we are still doing real estate selling. i saw that she is torn between the two jobs and in effect she ask me to assist/help close the sale of her agent. please advice.

    thanks, rose antiporda, philippines

    1. Liz Weber says:

      Hi Rose - What is the mission of your organization? What work is your assistant manager being paid to do? If s/he is drifting into a line of work that is not a strategic intent of the organization, don't support the effort. If it is, you need to come up with a plan that is understood and supported by all appropriate team members to help it succeed. You all need to be clear on WHY you do the things you do so you can focus on doing THE most important things each day. Thanks for reaching out Rose.

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Posted by Liz Weber CMC on April 24, 2012 in Leadership Development and tagged , , , ,