The vast majority of organizations I’ve worked with aren’t concerned about how well their individuals are doing their jobs, but how well they are leading people and taking care of their part of the business. Nine times out of ten, people don’t need intervention around how they perform their job; they need intervention around people issues and on their leadership. Their job is usually second nature to them. –From Many Parts, One Body, pg. 34.
When it comes to Corporate America, the function of accountability and performance should go hand in hand.
By definition, accountability boils down to “where does the buck stop?” Performance, on the other hand, boils down to actual delivery or crossing the finish line. You either did or you didn’t. There is no in between.
Most organizations associate, performance, to the bottom dollar, or to how well an employee is doing around their roles and responsibilities. But I argue that “performance” doesn’t stop there and that it must not stop there.
How often does an organization also ask, “ How well is that person, despite rank, title, or position, performing in the area of leadership?” And even more importantly, what are those qualities we deem, leadership worthy and critical to our organizational health? It’s far too easy to look the other way, let alone, emphasize the need for development on the leadership side of things. Why? Because what’s the associated dollar value to leadership?
The reality however, is that “leadership” performance is just as important as “role” performance. You need look no further than the extreme cases of an Enron or the latest and greatest NFL debacle to get my point.
There are critical areas of “leadership performance” that I champion and those include:
- Having healthy communication with others. To be clear, I emphasize healthy and not perfect. Healthy simply means can you communicate in a way that promotes two-way engagement with others?
- The acumen to exude leadership presence, regardless of title. Do you portray yourself in a way that commands respect?
- The ability to close the deal. Do you consistently do what you say and do it with excellence?
- Doing what it takes to foster productive and positive relationships. Working relationships aren’t perfect. But are you doing what it takes to at least make them healthy?
- Being behaviorally accountable to one-self. This simply means do you take responsibility for your actions by owning up to them good and bad?
- Achieving your highest self. Are you trying to be “better than you were yesterday,” and realize that you are always on a journey when it comes to leadership?
I argue that individuals who fail to perform in any of the above areas, at least minimally, could affect your organization negatively just as much as someone’s failure to perform their job properly.
Strive to put just as much emphasis on leadership performance as you do on one’s business performance. Is it a tall order? Absolutely! But isn’t the overall health of your organization and its people worth it?
Your leadership challenge as an employee: As an individual contributor, knock it out of the park in the area leadership performance.
Your leadership challenge as an executive: Model all areas of leadership performance and help your people do the same by holding them accountable.