How Not To Be An A-Hole

Four dos and don'ts for how to do accountability better.

How Not To Be An A-Hole

Four dos and don'ts for how to do accountability better.

Doing accountability better is the single most important thing we can do to lift possibility, progress and performance for ourselves and the people and systems we lead. But what does this look like in action?

How can we avoid being an accountability-hole?


If I were to tell you there was one thing that would unlock possibility progress performance in you your team and your organization would you be interested? 

Yup. Me too. 

The thing is, I reckon I’ve discovered what that one thing is: accountability. 

Because when you talk about things like engagement, motivation, sustaining high performance and innovation, accountability is the upstream solution to the questions that you’re asking. 

The challenge is that at the moment accountability has a pretty poor PR record. It’s like the monster under the bed and no one wants to pull that out and have a good close look at it. 

Which is why we need to think about and do accountability differently because as leaders, we can’t afford to be the gap – we can’t be the accountability-hole. 

So how can we do it better? 

Here are four dos and don’ts for how to do accountability better: 

  1. Accept 

DO: own what’s yours to own.
Have you done the work to understand what your responsibilities are to get clear on the expectation of yourself and (01:25) others? 

DON’T: carry other people’s water.
Being clear about what’s yours to own means you’re clear about what isn’t as well.

  1. Assume
    DO: assume positive intent.
    Believe that people are showing up with the best they can with what they have available to give right now.
    DON’T: avoid calling them to account.
    If expectations aren’t being met, have the conversation.
  1. Ask
    DO: invite people into their personal responsibility.
    Make clear the expectations that you have about what you need them to do and to what standard do you need them to deliver it.
    DON’T: Assume that they can’t, they don’t want to or that they won’t – make the ask explicit.
  1. Assist
    DO: look for ways in which you can support, serve and enable progress.
    DON’T: point the finger, name, blame, and shame if you’re not willing to lean in and (02:54) contribute. 


So they’re my tips on how not to be an a-hole: Accept, Assume, Ask and Assist.  

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