How To Not Avoid Being Accountable
In a culture where we are so goal driven, most of us have no problem staying focused on the goal and driving ourselves into over working. What I am curious about is our ability to avoid our accountability to the behavior that keeps us clear, confident and accountable to our happiness.
I have a peer group that I coach; these are leaders of various teams in a very large organization. In one of our sessions, it came to our attention that every one of the leaders was conflict avoidant. Being conflict avoidant makes it easy to not be accountable to exhibiting behavior that is considered more productive because conflict is uncomfortable for everyone. The fact that we don’t like to be uncomfortable prohibits us from being accountable to behavior around a topic that we find difficult to change.
One of the team members (let’s call her Jane) had another team she had to work with to complete a project, and from Jane’s perspective, this team was unprofessional, rude, unwilling to work together or recognize the knowledge Jane was bringing to the project, which was making Jane shut down. She had approached them several times about working as a team, and they just got defensive. Jane decided she was not going to put any energy into this team.
Some key signs we are not being accountable to creating the behavior we desire is when we lash out with anger, shut down and avoid or start blaming.
When Jane’s staff came to her complaining about working with this team, Jane would also complain and empathize with them. Jane recognized this behavior did not exhibit leadership qualities around coaching her staff in how to be effective with the team.
Jane and I had a 1:1 session and talked about what kept her in this resistant behavior (i.e. shut down and avoiding this team). We discussed the behavior she exhibited and the thoughts that moved her into this position with this team. We talked about how she wanted to be with the team, and the strategies that could move her into feeling calmer, more neutral, non-reactive and holding the other team to doing their best as well as coaching her team to do their best.
- The key when you are feeling frustrated, upset, worried, or have any negative feelings about a person or situation is to first recognize they are triggering something in you.
- How is the situation making you feel?
- Once you identify the feelings, dive deeper into how you feel in your body, and what thoughts this feeling is creating in your head.
Jane said she physically felt a tightness in her chest, and she started doubting her abilities and strengths.
Jane came up with what she needed to do to prepare for a conversation with the difficult team.
- Have a face-to-face conversation verses an email conversation.
- Remind herself that this was strengthening her self-confidence and self-respect.
- The act of choosing to have the conversation was an act of standing up for herself and her team.
- This challenge was activating her courage in herself and her abilities.
- She started coaching her team to be more proactive and less defensive with this team.
With this coaching, Jane had a conversation with the team and resolved the issues at hand. I want to point out that Jane chose to be accountable and address her own feelings about this situation and the people on the team. Jane’s recognition regarding what they were triggering in her was the turning point of her shifting her perspective and behavior in a way that supported a productive conversation with the difficult team and more of her leadership competencies with coaching her own team.
Once Jane had this awareness, she created a strategy that supported how she wanted to behave and act on it; therefore, the challenge was resolved.
I love the quote from Brene Brown about believing that everyone is doing their best.
You never know if people are doing the best they can, but if you assume that they are, it makes your life better. To assume the best about people is a selfish act because the life you change first is your own. Because you can be more generous, kind and compassionate. This develops empathy.
Here is a 5-minute clip where Brene Brown talks about it.
Worth watching and sharing with your team!
Being accountable to changing our unproductive behaviors starts with how we set boundaries with ourselves, and how we choose to be in integrity with our true nature.
When you can bring the awareness to where you are avoiding putting attention on the behaviors that make you uncomfortable, you give yourself permission to empower yourself, strengthen your courage and be true to your integrity. This positive ripple impacts your teams, your colleagues and your work.