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Building Community Through Better Relationships

Accountability To What?

Buffalo Stampede

A herd of majestic buffalo rumble across the prairie creating a deafening roar. The ground literally shakes as they hurry in loosely orchestrated chaos. Upon reaching a cliff each one races beyond the edge and crashes into the rocks below. The insanity of the thundering group is catastrophic. At least, the group reached their tragic demise together. Buffalo herds, like traditional organizational structure, are built on blind loyalty to the larger group. Their success assumes higher collective intelligence. Sometimes, groups are wrong. People get hurt. Who was in charge?

Improving Performance
Leaders are established to help groups achieve specific results. Considering that such groups are collections of individuals seeking a common purpose or goal, leadership provides a structure facilitating that achievement. Particularly with time-sensitive goals, everyone running faster is a reasonable tactic. But, what about the individual? Is there contribution valued? Or, are they expected to be a component of some unknown, or loosely defined, plan?

Optimally, a group that unites for a specific goal features contributing members. By accessing more individual input, the group potentially benefits from increased output. A good plan is necessary. Additionally, it requires a leader taking responsibility for execution. By getting individuals to improve their input with better contributions, leaders coordinate and enhance results. In the absence of a leader, too often one emerges who will accept responsibility and the glory. But, does this truly meet the members’ of the body individual needs? Who is accountable?

Changing Behavior
Actually, leadership’s challenge is meeting the individual needs of the members of the body. The old saying, “If you want to be a leader, grab the baton and get in front of the parade.”, is both witty and frightening. Declaring a leader in the absence of one, does not mean the group’s needs are prioritized nor met. It definitely does not mean that individuals’ needs are prioritized and met. Yes, the leadership box is checked. Now, the herd is prepared to be led off the cliff, instead of randomly charging off it.

New and improved behavior requires individual accountability. To get behavior to change, every member must find individual benefit. When real leadership is applied effectively, processes and opportunities exist to develop individuals within the group’s framework. The body does not need four well developed arms to maximize performance. It needs two functional arms and two functional legs to perform in accordance with the established design. Sustainable results happen when individual components develop in alignment with the group’s success.

Essentially, the leader needs to equip group members to develop fully. The group members need to be equipped to fulfil their individual goals. Sounds like a lot of selfishness in the name of the team. However, individual self-interest is not selfishness. And anyone who claims that it is, secretly is unhappy that they do not have the group’s blind loyalty. Improving performance is easy. Changing behavior is hard. All members must contribute toward accountability to align behaviors. Otherwise, the result is ineffective leaders who essentially join the group in running off the nearest cliff.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

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April 20, 2017 Posted by | Better Business, Better Community | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment