Accountability Matters

“Accountability matters when it comes to engagement” – Chris McChesney

Accountability is the best present to give to anybody at work, your children, your soccer team. It is true that most people thrive and give extra effort when they know that they are accountable, what they do or don’t do has purpose and meaning.

Patrick Lencioni wonderfully describes in his book ” 3 Signs of a Miserable Job” why we should encourage one another to be held accountable. This may not be the book to leave lying around on your desk.

The three signs

Lencioni identifies the three signs of job misery as anonymity, irrelevance and “immeasurement.”

  • Anonymity: Employees feel anonymous when their manager has little interest in them as people with unique lives, aspirations and interests.
  • Irrelevance: This condition occurs when workers cannot see how their job makes a difference. “Every employee needs to know that the work they do impacts someone’s life — a customer, a coworker, even a supervisor — in one way or another,” Lencioni says.
  • Immeasurement: This term describes the inability of employees to assess for themselves their contributions or success. As a result, they often rely on the opinions of others — usually the manager — to measure their success.

The solution is quite simply the opposite, to be known or acknowledged, to be relevant and to do work that can be measured. When people are held accountable, they will get recognition, for the task completed and how it has been rated or received. Open dialogue is key to understanding what your employee, child, team, values and are receiving from the experience. Give praise where praise is due. Otherwise one should interject in the project or task when it is clear to you that they are not coping or are not really going to hit the mark, with a question like,” how can I help you hit the target?” Thus they should come up with the solution with a little prompting from you. They can still own the outcome. Good growing opportunity for both them and you.

Give your children purpose. Give your employees purpose. It is of the paramount importance. When asked about balancing work and life ” First Things First” author Roger Merrill puts it quite succinctly by saying that when you have purpose in your life, there is an inherent balance. You seem to get energy in abundance, to accomplish the tasks and the family commitments and fun stuff. When you see someone with burnout, it is not from the hours, but from the futility.

When you know that what you do matters, has purpose, is of benefit, you will give more of your best. You matter, you have purpose, you have identity. You have been weighed and measured and what you have done so far is good, but greatness lies ahead of you!


Photo by Prateek Katyal on

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