“We desperately need a culture of accountability around here!    How can I make people more accountable around here (including, in some cases, my children, my parents, my spouse, my siblings)?” 

Well, you can use your power and emotionally or financially abuse people; but that may be what’s gotten you into a commitment bind in the first place.  If you rely mostly on organizational power and position to drive results, you will generally wind up with malicious compliance. 

Why?  When most people think about accountability, they usually picture heads rolling, feet held to the fire, nose to the grindstone, or any other metaphor that refers to people being punished or hurt in some way for not having performed at a high enough level (which is usually either ill-defined or undefined and, on occasion, unrealistic). 

How long would you want to commit to an organization – business or family – that operated like that?  In most cases one of two things happens in such an intimidating environment.  First, people get away from it by checking out – physically or emotionally.  Second, they get used to it and the fear loses its impact, as evidenced by phrases like “Oh, don’t pay any attention to him/her.  That’s just how he/she lets off steam.”

You may be thinking “Well, if I don’t hold people accountable, how does anything happen?”  The answer is so simple that some of you will more than likely blow it off.  The answer is to make others believe they are responsible for their actions and people whom you can depend upon to get the job done.  Use your personal influence in ways that make them want to meet your expectations.

How does that happen?  Here are some techniques that will help you become more effective in substituting personal influence for positional power.  Your business and family leadership will increase dramatically if you put these principles into practice:

  • I am not the source of all wisdom and knowledge in the universe;

  • I respect the wisdom and knowledge of others;

  • It is better to be as tough as leather than as hard as a rock;

  • The meaning of my communication is in the response I get from others; and,

  • Resistance is a sign of a lack of rapport. 

There are several other presuppositions like those five bullet points above; and all of them are instrumental in helping you effectively create a culture of personal responsibility and dependability within your organization and/or your family.  Remember, most people respond favorably to inspiration, self-direction, education, and communication. 

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