A lot of ink has been spilled on the subject of success and the skills you need to achieve it. Let me start with what seemed to be the truest of all: there is no shortcut to success. And entrepreneurs know this best. To accomplish goals effectively, one needs hard work, patience, and time, among the other obvious things.
But perhaps the thing we often forget is also the most important of all – the need for accountability.
Business coach and accountability expert, Alan M. Dobzinski defines the accountability process as a method which includes “supporting, listening, helping, clarifying, empowering and seeing your people.” A workplace that thrives on accountability has all the necessary tools for long term success.
However, entrepreneurs often skip this process. In their blinded focus on profit and product, they forget to give purpose to their business; they ignore insights from their good people, and they don’t cultivate passion for work which is needed if you want your business to be productive.
The following are entrepreneurial skills that are crucial in creating an accountable workplace.
1. Results-oriented leadership
Effective leadership behaviors are vital in shaping the overall culture of a company. Managers must mold the culture of the workplace to the kind of environment that breeds productivity. Contrary to task-oriented leadership, whose focus relies on task management and excessive attention to administrative details, result-oriented leadership aims to achieve the best result based on comprehensible and quantifiable goals.
In this management style, workers know what is expected of them. They are involved in the process of establishing expectations, they are given freedom to express and determine how they are going to meet these expectations (if not they are taught how to do so), and lastly they are entitled to ask for timely feedback about performance.
What should be your most esteemed value that you wish your workers would emulate in your organization? Is it intellectual curiosity? An unrelenting passion for work? Resourcefulness? In building a culture of accountability, entrepreneurs must exercise courage in telling the truth. This involves honesty in speaking about the about the current situation of your business, including addressing mistakes as soon as they are made, and using words that hold no weight.
However, there may be times when ‘honesty is not the best policy in the workplace.’ This happens when you have to deal with situations that can’t be defined clearly as black and white. Situations where you have to use your best judgment to discern which path to take. During these episodes, you have to be careful of what you say or do so you don’t get yourself or your workers in trouble.
3. Effective communication
An entrepreneur has to be competent in all types of communication (verbal, written, and nonverbal). Since you lead, and motivate, and deliver, you must learn to articulate your points so that your members will get a clear idea of what you expect. Miscommunication can result in unexpected and undesirable situations.
You can be called an expert at what you do, but if you’re not effectively communicating with your clients, staff, and consumers, then you’re missing a lot of valuable opportunities.
4. Openness to change
If PayPal founder Max Levchin, didn’t change the nature of his business from a cryptography company to an online payment system, PayPal wouldn’t become one of the world’s largest online payment processing system trusted by millions of people today. Embracing change means moving forward – so you don’t get left behind, so you make the most out of your business potential.
Change could be the only constant thing in our lives, yet many entrepreneurs avoid it like the plague. A vital part of leadership, openness to change allows business leaders to adapt with the ever changing trends of business and the state of economy. An entrepreneur who is open to change has behaviors such as: being more accepting of feedback and criticisms, optimism in the event of a sudden business transformation, and courage in facing mistakes and failures.
Transitions are hard – there’s no doubt about that. But staying in a business model that will only set you up for failure won’t do you good in the long run. Successful entrepreneurs are not stubborn optimists. They are willing to change, to accept better things as they come for the best of their business.
The sad case with the lot of entrepreneurs today is – they don’t know how to empower their employees. Most workforces today are comprised of men and women who simply say “yes”, and nod to everything their managers tell them to do. They are afraid to step up, to contribute, and to ask how his or her performance is beneficial to the company. These are employees who aren’t being empowered; these are the employees the management should pay attention to.
An entrepreneur who knows how to empower gives responsibility to workers who have demonstrated competence, creates an environment where his people can enhance their skills, and, lastly, gives his members independence in the process of accomplishing their tasks.
What skills do you find the most important for an entrepreneur, or for building a corporate culture that embraces accountability? Share your thoughts in the comments.