Trust, Responsibility and Accountability

I find I’m a little annoyed at the state of top public leadership here in the UK currently. Recently a senior politician has resigned, but only very reluctantly and not for the incompetence that they should actually have been sacked for long ago. It is so frustrating.

But the people I know in leadership positions in the workplace, aren’t like those politicians. Whether they’re in the public or the private sectors, the real leaders I know are Trustworthy, Responsible and Accountable.

Some questions for you:

  • Are you feeling the same about things at the moment – because maybe it’s just me?
  • What are your thoughts on what those qualities in the title of this post actually mean?
  • Are those qualities so difficult to grasp that it’s not possible to live up to them?

Maybe I’m too simplistic. But I do like things to be plain and understandable. If I was to define those qualities in the form of an easy to answer question, here’s what I think they mean:

Trustworthy – to me this means asking ourselves, “Did I actually do what I said I would do?”

Over time, you can build up a picture of who someone is on the basis of what they actually do. We are after all defined by our actions  – and they speak so much louder than words!

Responsible – to me this means asking ourselves, “Did I do the right thing?”

There’s an element of moral obligation for me in being responsible. It’s not just about being the person in charge – anybody can and should choose to take action and not ignore what needs to be done. And in so choosing, to choose to do the right thing.

Accountable – to me this means asking ourselves, “Am I willing to openly justify what I did?”

Accountable is often used as a synonym for responsible, but they’re not the same, as the definition above shows.

So leaders should:

  1. Do what they said they would
  2. Do the right things
  3. Be willing to openly justify what they did.

Measured against those definitions, how well do the leaders you know, at work and elsewhere measure up?

And how does your own leadership do against those?

Either leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach.

Leaders should: • Do what they said they would; • Do the right things; • Be willing to openly justify what they did. Do you agree? Click To Tweet





Checklist for leading one on one meetings

This is the second in a series for people who want to use one-on-one meetings as a great tool for leading the efforts of their team members

A structured but flexible one-to-one meetings approach is probably the best way you’ll find for managing and motivating the work of your individual team members. But sometimes it isn’t easy to know how to go about doing that effectively, or to make sure that it will get the results you’d want – such as switched-on and fulfilled team members and tasks that get done well and on time.

If you right-click the image above and then select “Save as…” you can download your own copy of the checklist.

Life as a manager can often be very busy and quite complicated, so if that’s the case for you – use this checklist as a way of getting started, in this order:

  1. Take stock of which items on the checklist you already have in place or already know the answers to?
  2. Once you’ve done that, which is the most straightforward item on the checklist for you to work on next?

If you need more information, you can read the rest of the tips when published here. They’re essentially a summary of my short ebooklet.

Or go ahead and grab your copy from Amazon here – free to Kindle Unlimited members or otherwise £1.99

I wrote that short ebooklet when, in the space of a fortnight, three separate coaching clients mentioned that they were struggling a little with running their one-to-one meetings with their individual team members. It’s easy to cover those kinds of issues in a coaching session, but it seemed to me that it would make better use of my clients’ time in our sessions if I could also just give them some simple guidance to take away and use as and when they wanted. I hope that the booklet has been useful – it’s been slowly working its way up the independent management books charts anyway. The next in the series will cover Delegation.

What’s essential for you, when running your own one-on-one sessions with your team members? Either leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach.

Download a free copy of this useful checklist for running great one-on-one meetings with your team members. No sign-ups etc required #leadership #management. Click To Tweet




What doesn’t kill you

New research suggests that we should stop saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” – Because it doesn’t!

I found some interesting research recently, based on the experiences of people in Chile and neighbouring countries who went through devastating earthquakes and a tsunami in 2010 (link to full article below).

In short, those people who had previously experienced four or more ‘stressors’ were at a much greater risk of developing a post-disaster mental health disorder compared to those who had experienced few or no prior stressors.

The researchers defined a ‘stressor’ as serious illness or injury, death of a loved one, divorce, unemployment or financial struggles, legal troubles or loss of a valuable possession.

In the world of people development, it’s very common to see that “What doesn’t kill you …” quote from Nietzsche used with the intention of boosting people’s confidence or resilience in the face of extreme difficulty. It’s the so-called “stress inoculation hypothesis”.

But some Nietzsche scholars believe that the German philosopher was actually poking fun at the kind of thinking which regards repeated adversity as a source of strength. It was common for Nietzsche to do this – say one thing, but mean another. It’s perhaps unfortunate that his pithy sayings are so quotable!

As usual, I wonder if the truth is somewhere in the middle:

  • It’s clear from the Chilean research that repeated exposure to stressful experiences makes you more vulnerable to negative impacts from extreme events – not stronger at all
  • But perhaps it’s possible that it does make you more empathetic towards others who have also experienced stressful times? In itself, this is a very useful success skill.

Similarly, a big cause of stress in life and at work is the gap between our expectations of how things somehow “should” be – and how they really, actually are:

  • In times of stress, that gap can seem huge (“My life and work should be successful/happy/fulfilling/safe – but it is actually not”);
  • Perhaps it’s also possible that exposure to stressful experiences gives us a kind of, if not inoculation, than maybe a kind of world-weary assumption that sh*t does occasionally happen – and maybe that helps a little?

Let me know what you’re noticing about the impact of stressful events on your own resilience please.

Either leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach.

What your view? is it true that 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger'? Or is it more nuanced than that? Click To Tweet

Click here to see the research article.