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April 29, 2021

Ep. 60 How to Hold Yourself Accountable

Leadership and personal accountability are the cornerstone of accountability both at home and the workplace.

Self-mastery requires knowing how to keep yourself on track!

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As a leader, you know, about holding your team accountable and how important it is, but did you know that it's actually even more important that you hold yourself accountable? Here's how coming up.<inaudible> I'm Daryl black. And if we haven't met before, I've spent over 30 years in emergency management, crisis leadership, project management, and think about things like hurricanes,

Katrina and Rita, and Canada's two largest disasters and whole bunch of search and rescue missions. And I've learned an awful lot during that time. And it's those lessons that I bring to CEO's entrepreneurs, business owners, corporate managers, executives, so that they can amplify their leadership and be more fulfilled, more rewarded and recognized. I'm also the creator of the critical path leadership framework,

which involves the inner game. So things like leadership mindset also about influence. So the positive influence of others, and last but not least impact and specifically making the most amount of impact with the least amount of effort in the least amount of time, basically it's about tactics and not theory. So I'll start off with a story here. And it was the Northern part of my province and there was a large wildfire,

well, huge wildfire that ripped through the ripped through a city and did catastrophic damage tens of thousands of people evacuated. I was there maybe about four or five days, it's called four days after the event. And you once, once the initial locals had an opportunity to call in help. So that was, that was myself and the team I belonged to.

And I remember that maybe it was day two or three of, of, of us arriving there. And the nature of these kinds of incidents involves a whole bunch of different agencies and people and different levels of experience and all of those things. And this was a catastrophic event by any. And so already people's stresses were high. They were through the roof and the fire was still going on,

for example, and this was one of the biggest, well, it turned out to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest disasters in Canadian history. And it was receiving a ton of profile CNN and it was, it was truly a global, global story news story. Now I was the head of a department, if you will. So if you picture,

maybe there's the president and then there are four vice presidents, okay. Essentially from an incident management perspective, we call it something a little bit different, but those kinds of terms will make sense to you. Now, let's see. All right. So was a VP, essentially. I was at that level and I remember that we are really scrambling to get our feet under us.

We were, we were trying to update information. We were trying to figure out the status of water treatment plant and, and the hospital and roads and evacuees and fire, and first responders and all of those, those agencies that are involved. And we're trying to come up with a plan on how to manage all of the stuff that's just being thrown at us.

So there is a lot to do early on, especially while there's a lot to do always, but particularly early on. So I remember walking in and I had to grab a sign off of the wall and I won't get into the ton of details around why I had to grab the sign, but I just left a meeting that was not heated, you know,

that would denote some sort of conflict, but it was, it was highly charged for sure. There was a lot of passion going on. And, and so I went to grab the sign off the wall in the room where there was probably about 20 people. They're all from my department, we're all working several problems dealing with this municipality and this, this wildfire.

So I walk in, I grabbed this chart and I stock start to walk out with it because I'm going to go show it to somebody well across the room and can picture like a really crowded classroom really is what it is with a bunch of tables in it. On the far side of the room, there's an individual sitting down and he like stands up and he is mad.

He is mad right away. And I don't know who this individual was. I didn't know at that time, I never seen this person, any of that stuff, but they're in our team and that's not unusual because, you know, as I said, a whole bunch of agencies send people and, and I don't get to meet everybody initially, especially when it's chaotic.

So he stands up and he yells across the room, Hey, what are you doing with our sign? And this is where it gets really, really interesting. So I'm in a vest like a command vest. It's very clear who I am, particularly who I am relative to the department in this room, basically, I'm in charge of it. So I grab,

as I'm walking out, I look at them, I'm like, don't worry about it. And I snapped back. Well, he comes around the table and he storms towards me and he is even more angry. And he gets right up in my grill, like right in front of me. And he says, well, Hey, you need to make sure that whatever's happening.

Calls us. And I was like, wow, wow. I was like, don't worry about it. And I stormed now there's a bunch of different things that went on through my, through my brain real, real quick. And to be honest, I was thinking, who is this guy? Doesn't he know who I am. Doesn't he know that I'm trying to help all these things.

And that's in that split second kind of a little, those split-second thoughts. So then I'm like, don't worry about it. And I leave the room. So I'll leave that there, because that is a Grilly good example of accountability. And I'll talk about how that is shortly. But first let's do a review over the last two episodes. We've been speaking a lot about accountability.

It's been in the accountability series. The first episode dealt with the importance of setting expectations, being very, very clear clarity is kindness as Bernay Brown says. So we want to make sure that we're crystal clear, because if we're going to hold somebody accountable, we need to know what we're holding them accountable to. And so do they, so do they.

So we talked about a couple of levels. The first level level one expectation is involving an end state, or what does right look like or intent, and what happens there is as a leader, I paint that end state. I paint the picture of what right. Looks like. Okay. And what the intent is, what is the destination? And then I let that individual,

or that team get to that end state. I don't worry about the, how provided some ethically safely and in those sorts of things, but in terms of the tactics, I don't concern myself with that. That's the level one and state intent based leadership and setting expectations works really well with experienced teams and experienced people. The second level is now requiring a framework,

and I have an expectations framework that I've developed and involves a two way discussion, but it's very, very specific and very, very particular and very, very well constructed and robust. Sorry, I ran out of fancy words there, but I think you get the idea. So if properly applied and consistently applied, it involves a two-way discussion, a dialogue and an agreement,

maybe a negotiation, but that's not quite, I suppose, in the strictest terms, it is a negotiation to a certain extent, but it is not me as a leader telling you what you need to do, how to do it. And when all of that other stuff, and then you going away, it's me laying out the expectation you agreeing to it.

But first clarification and agreeing to it. Then we go back and forth with regard to what support I, as a leader need to, to give to you to complete that task. And then once we've gone through that dialogue and it doesn't take long, but you could also capture two. I would highly recommend that I give templates and a bunch of things in my leadership Academy to be able to just walk right through it.

You know, it's kinda like a kickoff document. And once you've done that, you can release the person. So you can go and do your work. And, but you need to, to follow up. And that's what the last episode was about was what is that? Follow-up sure it's great to lay out clear expectations and have recognition and agreement and clarity and all of those things.

But as a leader, ultimately, I've got to hold the team accountable and individuals accountable to an outcome. That's why I'm getting paid. I'm getting paid to provide outcomes for the organization or the agency or the company, whatever it is. So that involves a few things, regular checkups, and those checkups will involve what we call it. Open-ended questions specifically.

What are your thoughts on, or what are your feelings on or how are you feeling about, or what are your, what are you thinking about? So those are an open net. Those are open-ended questions because they require more than just a one word answer. If it was a one word answer, it would be a, how are things going? Fine.

Okay, excellent. Excellent. You don't get any information from that though. So the open-ended question, we call that an active listening technique inquiry. So open-ended question, and now you're actively listening and you're trying to pick out details. You're picking up body language, ideally your tone of voice, pace, all that stuff that makes us really good leaders provider we're paying attention.

And if we start to pick out a problem, or if there is a problem that we've identified, then we go into what we call the B method. And again, it sounds really, really clunky as I talk about it, but it's very well laid out if you follow the steps and the B method is the behavior of the individual, the emotion that you are experiencing as the leader,

and what does that effect? Okay. So the behavior, the emotion and the effect. So it's my emotion key point. So whatever the behavior is. So I am concerned that you're not updating the action log as often as possible. The effect is I can't get a good status update update, and I need to now come and bother you. For example,

it's just a general example. So that's the B method. So then what you've done is you, you've now expressed your concern in a, in a way that will tend not to drive defensiveness in that individual. Now you have to sit back and you have to listen because that individual should respond or maybe a no response, like non-response as a response as well.

So then you could even follow that up here in a little more Jedi, you know, pro tips here, follow that up with, well, what are your thoughts about that? What are your feelings around that? So see how it all kind of interweaves and dances. It's, it's not verbal ping pong. It's not, he said, she said,

he said, she said, this is actually a good dialogue, a rich conversation. So then you need to come up with some sort of a conclusion. And that conclusion can be one of a couple things. One individual is willing to do the task or do the job, but they're unable to, so they don't have the skills. Right? We talked about skill in the previous episode.

Well, maybe it's something else though. Maybe it's something else. Maybe it's they have this skill, but they don't have the will to do it. They don't want to do it. So they are able, but unwilling. So let's take that one person. They are willing to do it, but they're unable. That's now where it's, it's something you need to figure out as a leader to support them.

It could be additional training. It could be more resources, more time, whatever that is, right. That's a mentorship opportunity. That's a coaching opportunity. That's an opportunity to support and develop that person. But what about that person that is able to, but unwilling, that's a little bit more difficult, a little bit more difficult than every team has those folks.

So I'm not so Pollyannish to say that it will never happen. Luckily it's a rare, well, hopefully it's a rarity knock on knock would there. So in that case, that's we have to now go back to a level, two expectations framework and start to go back in and be a lot more detailed and a lot more specific. Right? And so what you're doing now at this point,

unfortunately, is performance management. You may not call it performance management. In fact, I would encourage you not to call it performance management, but essentially that's what you're doing, right. And I know will reach a point where there's barriers. And we talked about chop and table legs off. And those table legs are our beliefs or ideas or stories, which are typically BS that that person is holding on to that you need to start to undermine,

or you need to start to eliminate. And then as you eliminate them person should start to realize that they don't have any foundation anymore. They don't have anything to cling to, but if they don't come to that realization, then unfortunately that's where you have to make some hard decisions. Okay. So that took us all the way, way to here. So let's see,

let's go back to our little story. Shall we? Now that I've outlaid this because it actually pertains directly to how we hold ourselves accountable. Okay. So what happened in that situation? Right? So I storm out of the room and I ignore this person, right? I don't have time to deal with this BS. I don't want any drama. I'm too busy.

I'm too important. I've got stuff to do. There's urgency around a bunch of other things. This is not what I'm going to. You know, this is not a Hill I'm going to die on here. Well, I go into another room and I talk to somebody, but there was, it just didn't sit. Right, right with me. I was bothered by the exchange that I had just had.

Now I wasn't bothered professionally. Right. Because technically I was in charge and technically I didn't have to really answer to that person. Okay. In a purely, you know, a hierarchical perspective. Okay. I didn't even know who that person was and they certainly weren't wearing fancy command vest like I was, but there was something that was wrong. And I was in,

and the other room talking to an individual. I was like, you know what, sorry, I I'll be right back. And I walked back out into the hallway, heading into the, into the planet room again. Now this individual was already talking to a couple of people. Last episode, we talked about what happens when misery loves company, right?

There will start to be alliances formed. And, and, and people that, that are, are essentially a cancer and a team. They're going to look for allies. They are going to be building alliances and coalitions. That's exactly what was happening with this individual. He had already enlisted two of his agency mates to bad mouth, the big, bad Daryl.

And frankly, he probably didn't even know who I was my name. So I politely interjected. I said, can I just talk to you for a second and say, Hey, I apologize for that exchange. There's really no excuse for it. That's not who I am. I was just under a little bit of time pressure, and that's not an excuse.

And so I want to really make sure that, that we sh we shook on this and, and we're good while he didn't shake my hand, to be honest, he was really, really angry. So I continued on, so I continued to talk to him and apologize in different ways. And he finally, finally felt heard, right? He had felt seen,

he had felt validated. And so we part ways to be honest, I didn't really interact with them hardly at all. Again, I saw him periodically, but there's just so many things going on amongst the team. So what, what transpire, what was going through my head there? Because again, I, I didn't have to go back and I'm not sure I'm saying the story because I'm a hero by any stretch.

In fact, it was a failure on my part in the moment I view this very much as a failure, failure to employ the very techniques that I talked about with regard to not being triggered remaining calm and all of those things. So it was a failure I snapped. And then I left. So this is not a story that I'm particularly excited about or proud,

proud about, but I, I had really decided long ago, what kind of leader I wanted to be. And that folks is really the, the root of personal accountability and deciding what kind of leader you want to be. But even more importantly, who do you want to be as a leader? Or who do you want to be as a parent,

whatever it is. And I had luckily done a lot of work, a lot of inner work around those types of things. Yeah. And it goes back into even identity. Now, identity is something that we are, we're given your picture, your, your, your brain. I mean, it there's hardware. And then there's software. The hard wire is really what are our hard wired to our hard-wired programming.

W what we're born with, the, the circuitry, the neurons, the, the, the sheets, the synapses goes on and on and on, right? And that's the wiring. That's the hard wiring, that's the hardware. But as soon as we come into this great world of ours are software starts getting programmed. Okay. It starts getting programmed by typically people that have the most influence over us.

I E parents, caregivers, teachers, and where that programming is really strong or where it gets stronger is when we reflect behaviors that our surroundings, I E our parents supported and liked. Right? So as we're, we're growing up, we are doing things that will please our parents and not just please them, but we didn't want to get in trouble.

Right. So we've out of fear. So we, we kind of, our, our programming w our software was being programmed every single day, based on pleasing and fear. And as we go through our life, that programming may evolve. And sometimes it doesn't, but that leads me to the conversation around values and values are, we're going to be talking about even more specifically.

So when I say at your identity, when I say about your, your, who do you want to be? I'm not talking about, I want to be a nice guy, or I want to be rich or poor or whatever, right. I'm talking about who you want to be. I'm talking about what your identity is now, that who is based very much on your values.

So, for me, for example, one of my top values is I have it right here. I've gone through a bunch of exercises, some very, very deep. And we actually get into these exercises with companies and, and the, the, the leadership County, right. Respect right here. That's, that's my, my top value. And so for me,

when I left that exchange, I, I, it didn't feel like I had respected that individual. And I certainly, they didn't have empathy. Right. And now it's another value of mine is, is, is empathy. So I was able to not even consciously, but subconsciously realized that there was a disconnect there, there was some dissonance there, some cognitive dissonance,

some separation between my values and my behavior to the point where it felt bad. I felt bad without even consciously thinking about how I felt about that. Because remember I was stuck in the moment I went into this room and I was talking to somebody, but then that's when the values kicked in. That's when the, who do I want to be as a leader kicks in.

So the very first thing that you need to do when you're talking about personal accountability is deciding who you want to be as a leader. What kind of leader do you want to be? Do you want to be a leader that leads with respect, with empathy, with compassion, whatever that is, and go so far as to write it down, we go through a lot of this effort in,

as I said, in, in my consulting and in the Academy with regard to declarations and leadership philosophy, because that will be your moral compass, for lack of a better phrase, right? That's your North star. So if you are deciding to be a leader that treats others with respect, then that is your North star. And that is your interaction.

That is your, your, your judge of every interaction that you have, you either were contributing to that value, to that, that respect, or you're taking it away. So even in the heat of the moment, yes, it goes away. But man, if it's ingrained enough, if you've done enough inner work, if you've done enough thinking about your values and who you want to be,

don't worry. Your subconscious is plenty capable of saying, Whoa, Hey whole, like pump the brakes on, on your tough guy routine here, get out and get your head out of your butt. And we get it. Everyone's stressed out, but you're leading, you're the leader. So go back and correct that. And that's exactly what I did.

So once you've decided on who you want to be, and it's a values conversation, not about a behavior, you have to now really think about what that looks like, because now we can do the behavior part, right? We don't start with the behavior. We start with what the values are and the value. What kind of leader do you want to be?

Who do you want to be? And then we do the behavior. And that behavior is something that we have to be able to see in the real world. So in theory, if I'm, if I'm working with somebody and they say that they are, we'll just use empathetic, right? They, one of their big values is empathy. And I should be able to see that empathy in every exchange,

even if I don't know the nature of the exchange, I don't know the, the other person, but I know the leader. I should be able to sit there and with a notebook, not that I would then say, Hmm, you know what? That individual acted with empathy. They acted consistent with what they declared. They were going to be as a leader.

So that's an important part to the values and who you are going to be. That's a big part of it. But then how does that look in the real world? How does that reveal to other people? So once you've decided what kind of behavior that is then declared to other folks, man, peer pressure, public accountability. Now that could be to your team.

I would highly recommend that. To be honest, get it out there, be vulnerable and say, look, I want to be a leader that leads with respect. This is what that means Mo, or if you're not comfortable doing that, if you're, if your space is not quite that safe. And I completely understand that, then tell a trusted colleague,

tell that colleague, Hey, you have full reigns to observe my behavior. When I'm interacting with the folks that I support. And I want you to be able to call me out on it in a respectful way that if I'm not acting consistent with empathy, for example, I want you to let me know. I want you to let me know. And that's tough,

right? That's tough because you're opening yourself up to potential criticism, but leadership isn't easy and leadership is a burden. So if you want to be a good leader and you want to define who you are, and if you want to decide how you will behave based on that, guess what you need to work out. And it's not something that will just happen.

You have to be deliberate. It's like anything else. Now, the good news is, is you've done the work ahead of time. And so making sure that, that you, you always go back to that reference points and once you've done that, make sure you reward yourself for good behavior. Yeah, I get it. We reward puppies, Daryl puppies.

No, that's okay. As human beings, we like the dopamine hit. We like the dopamine hit. So if you are acting in, in, in congruence, in alignment with who you say, you are reflect on that and feel good about it because you're changing your wiring. And that is to be commended and rewarded. That's admirable. In fact,

that's freaking awesome. Conversely, the flip side of that, just like in my example, I didn't treat that individual very well initially now that said, and I'm not making excuses for myself, but it is what it is. Right? Peter crone, if you want to YouTube him or, or Google him podcasts and all sorts of stuff, tremendous individual Peter crone,

he talks about the past is the past. And it happened exactly how it happened and you can't change that. So it's a very, very good way of looking at what has happened in the past. You can't change it. It is what it is. It's neither right. Nor wrong. It just occurred. It just so happened. So recognize that too,

that you're only human. And especially if you're, if you're just starting on your leadership journey or you're just starting this process, you're not going to be a hundred percent all the time. So give yourself some grace and some self-compassion. Okay. So hopefully those are some, some good guidelines or tactics for you to employ. Should you need to really think about accountability with the team,

but more importantly yourself. All right, folks. So I will wrap it up here. Thank you very, very much for your time and your attention, and we'll see you on the next one.<inaudible>.