Below is an excerpt from my new coaching modules, The 24/7 Leader: Transforming Personal & Professional Life:
Inspiring leaders understand that everyone deserves clarity about their responsibilities.
They use key accountabilities – what each role is responsible for accomplishing – to establish the framework for high-level collaboration.
Mapping out key accountabilities not only eliminates confusion over who does what, it also exposes overlap between roles and makes it easier to eliminate unnecessary work.
The opposite is also true. Some roles expand over time and point to a clear need to hire additional staff or shift responsibilities.
I uncovered that issue when a hospital system asked me to figure out why one particular senior leadership role had so much turnover.
In the past four years, they had hired four different people for that role. No one found a way to succeed. Annual turnover in a role is a red flag waving that something is wrong.
“Let’s take a look at the role’s accountabilities and the expectations from key stakeholders,” I suggested as a starting point, and asked everyone on the leadership team to complete an online questionnaire about the job.
Once I saw the results, I immediately spotted the problem. It was clear they wanted someone who was already master level competent in twenty-five leadership skills. Most CEOs have mastered only five or six!
They also wanted someone who would be both bold and cautious, an influential change agent who wouldn’t rock the boat, a stickler for details and a big-picture strategist. That person should be able to prioritize people and create data-driven efficiencies while promoting community outreach and improving profit margins.
They wanted someone who could be all things to all people and that just isn’t possible.
No human being could be wired with the combination of communication patterns and motivators they were looking for. No one person could succeed in the role as it had been defined.
I explained the problem and spelled out the solution. I worked with the leadership team to tease out what accountabilities fit together and then we conducted a search for two people who would play to each other’s strengths and cover each other’s blind spots.
A year and a half later, those two hires have received “exceeds expectations” performance ratings and have produced excellent outcomes for the organization.
Spelling out everyone’s key accountabilities ensures that leaders set people up for success. It also has other upsides:
- It eliminates team anxiety about stepping on someone else’s toes and makes the baton hand-offs clear.
- It makes performance reviews less subjective.
- It helps hiring managers communicate clearly about what the role entails.
- It provides a useful onboarding tool to help new employees understand everyone’s function on the team.
Inspiring leaders know people want to succeed, so they continually define and communicate the organizational goals and ensure that every team member’s accountabilities are clear.
Your Leadership Coaching Challenge:
Start by identifying your own key accountabilities in priority order with the percent of your time allocated to each. Then begin to create key accountabilities for the leadership team, your team, and your whole organization!
If you would like to take this deeper, join "The 24/7 Leader" coaching process and peer mastermind. To enroll, please contact us. For more support in your team's development, let's talk: 888-959-1188.