Previous month:
December 2009
Next month:
February 2010

January 2010

Accountability: A Leader's Best Friend

What is your experience with being "held accountable"? Most of us have had a bad experience with accountability at some point in our lives when it was used as a tool for condemnation or it failed to attach the action step to a goal of forward progress. However, "accountability" does not have to be a "four letter" word.

Accountability gets a bad rap it doesn't deserve. Accountability can be a leader's best friend!

Professional coaches are trained in the accountability process and leaders of all types should model what good coaches do with their clients.Through my coach training, being a coaching client and in coaching my own clients, I can attest to the power of a well structured weekly accountability process.

I wish I would have been trained in coaching skills while I was still in Corporate America so I could have used the process with my direct reports!

If you want some facts to back up my experience,this section is for you. Fairley and Zipp's "The Business Coaching Toolkit" quotes the following from the results of a research project performed by the American Society for Training and Development. The study related the probability of a person's completing a goal based upon the actions they took relating to that goal. These results speak for themselves.


1. If you hear an idea.............................................10%

2. If you consciously decide to adopt an idea..................25%

3. If you decide when to act on the idea.......................40%

4. If you design a plan to act on the idea......................50%

5. If you commit to another person to act on the plan.......65%

6. If you have a specific  accountability appointment
with the person to whom you made your commitment.......95%

Accountability can be our best friend.  What accountability structures do you have in place either personally or for your direct reports? What experiences do you have with accountability? We'd love to hear from you in a comment!

Want to experience or learn more about the accountability process? Contact me at 913-219-7844 for a complimentary consultation to learn more about how you can lead to your full potential.

Fueling the Responsibility of Leadership

Leadership is not to be taken lightly. The greater our influence over others, the greater responsibility we have. Because of our influence as leaders, society holds leaders of all levels to higher standards.

We must give them what they want.

The people we serve deserve our best efforts and our best selves. Unfortunately, most leaders are tired, frazzled, and running on empty. We rarely see their best because they are too drained to give it. Following are three tips to help fuel your leadership tank. 

1) Remember who you serve. 

Thoughtful leaders know who and what they serve. Why do you do what you do? Why does your organization do what it does? Find a way to connect your passions to your leadership responsibilities and lead from that place. Follow your heart, serve those around you and lead with the highest goal in mind. This will help you do the right thing, even though it may not be popular. 

2) Keep your "cup" filled to overflowing. 

The more you give to other people and the more responsibility you have on and off the job, the more time you need to refuel. I heard a speaker say: “If your intake is less than your outflow then your upkeep will be your downfall.” How do you relieve stress? What fills your energy tank? What are you trying to give that you do not have?

3) Get a coach or mentor.  

Never stop learning or trying to improve. When we think we’ve “arrived”, we are ripe for a fall. Leaders should never cease to ask for wisdom, feedback and accountability in their endeavors. A learning spirit keeps us humble because it acknowledges we don’t know it all. Additionally, a coach can help you connect your with your passions and get your self care routine on track.

One final thought. My fellow leaders, we all know how tough the road of leadership can be, rewarding as it is. The next time you find yourself criticizing someone in a position of authority, give them a little grace, and remember that people are looking at you too.

Now its your turn. I’ve asked a lot of questions in this post. If you care to share any of your answers, we’d love to hear from you in a comment!

Connecting Learning with Leading
1.  What one thing can you do for yourself this week to fill your "cup"?
2.  Do you have a "safe place" in which to discuss your fears, frustrations or goals? If not, what baby step will you take this week to fill that void?

Need help in becoming a better leader? Contact me at 913-219-7844 for a complimentary consultation to learn more about how you can lead to your full potential.

Character Growth Through Introspection

Leadership starts with yourself, with who you are...your character. What we are on the inside eventually makes its way to the "outside" for all the world to see and react to, affecting our effectiveness in influencing others. How often do you take the time to reflect on integrity of your character? Today I will share some questions to help you evaluate who you really are.

Several years ago, I participated in a leadership development program focusing on becoming a person of influence. Within one of the lessons was a set of questions to be used in daily reflection as a self exam for exemplary character. I've not found a better list since.

Be warned, these questions pack quite a punch if you take them seriously! If you are up to the challenge, read on and then consider using these questions daily to take your character "pulse".

Questions for Daily Introspection*

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did I live out my faith or my core values today?
  8. When did I last encourage someone?
  9. Did I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  10. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  11. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  12. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
  13. Is the way I'm spending my spare time contributing to my overall life purpose?
  14. Am I proud? Would other people see me as proud or arrogant?
  15. Am I thankful I am not like other people (an indicator of pride)?
  16. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what I am I doing about it?
  17. Do I grumble or complain constantly?

Character counts. The better people we are the better our people can become.

Now I'd like to know what you thought of these questions. How would you make the list better? Share your thoughts in a comment!

*Source: Adapted from John Wesley's Holy Club, Introspective questions

Leading from the Heart

With leadership comes great responsibility. Leadership requires more than vision casting, goal setting, project planning & task management. With leadership comes the role of a shepherd, to care for those under your charge, ensuring their safety and ongoing development.

Great leadership combines competence with compassion.

Leading from the heart looks like this:

  • Be available to your "flock" for counseling on personal matters. A listening ear and a kind word can help get them back on track professionally.
  • Be protective of your direct reports. Let them know you are on their team.
  • Be watchful for new opportunities. Don't be selfish with your star performers. Let them take on new roles when they arise. The more they succeed the better you look!
  • Be real. Live and lead authentically, sharing your failures along with your successes. Real people develop loyal followers.

Great leadership extends from the heart. How heartfelt is your leadership style? If you have anything to add to my list from your experience, leave a comment by clicking the comment link below. We'd love to hear from you! 

Connecting Learning with Leading
1.  How well do you lead from the heart?
2.  What two things can you do this week to show your direct reports how much you care?

Need help in becoming a better leader? Contact me at 913-219-7844 for a complimentary consultation to learn more about how you can lead to your full potential.

Leadership Development Carnival: Best of 2009 Edition

Looking to kick off a new year by getting inspired about your own personal development? Check out the January 3rd Leadership Development Carnival: Best of 2009 Edition over at Dan McCarthy's Great Leadership blog to read over 50 outstanding posts from some of my favorite leadership bloggers.

I'm honored to be associated with these fine folks!

Happy Reading!