Yesterday, I had the opportunity of delivering the keynote address at the Arizona Management Society, which meets for a luncheon meeting on a monthly basis. I viewed this invitation as somewhat of an honor because September is the “kick-off” month for the new year (AMS takes the three summer months off), and the organization puts forth extra effort to attract membership. The society’s recruiting efforts were successful, resulting in a higher than normal turn-out.
During my remarks I talked about the imperative of placing responsibility for accountability where it rightfully belongs—on the individual employee rather than upon supervisors and managers (see blog of Sep 15). In the Q&A session, one sharp executive posed an excellent discussion point. Essentially, he observed: “As a leader, I have tried to get my people to take more responsibility and be more accountable, but they never seem to step up. The only thing that seems to work is the old “hold their feet to the fire” approach, that involves some form of coercion. I would be over-joyed to have my people hold themselves accountable, but I do not see how that would ever happen. Any suggestions?”
Before I jump into an extensive “all-seeing, all-knowing, Carnac the Magnificent” commentary (part of which I offered to the AMS in response to this leader’s question), I would like to receive some of your comments on this discussion point.
To “prime the pump,” let me say that I believe that part of our dilemma is our fundamental mindset or mental posture when it comes to supervision and management. We do not look at leaders, managers, and supervisors as teachers and educators, we view them as task masters and drill sergeants (all due respect to those of you in military).
Your thoughts about my thoughts…