A leader’s number one job is to create clarity. Leaders who fail to create clarity will struggle with holding their people accountable because their people will choose to perform the activities that fit closest to their current comfort zone.
Stop reading if you’ve never said or heard this from a leader, “but I thought they knew what they were supposed to do!”
A leader’s number one job is to create clarity in their organization. Lack of clarity leads to lack of accountability and ultimately frustration and conflict.
As much as we’d like to think we aren’t, humans are animals. Social animals. In the wild social animals are led by an alpha who provides guidance (usually in the form of violence) on what is acceptable behavior in the pack.
Animals also have no capacity to process language so all of their clues about what is acceptable and how to be accountable come from the alpha’s behavior.
When an alpha (in the wild or in business) is unclear about the behavior that is acceptable and/or the consequences for not showing the right behaviors, the animals in their group will demonstrate the behaviors that they believe the alpha wants. If the alpha doesn’t punish or correct those behaviors, their group members will continue doing those activities until their alpha erupts with frustration, which they caused.
With humans, our team members filter the behaviors they believe their leader wants from them through the filter of their hopes, dreams, fears, and comfort zone. A recurring theme in my coaching sessions with the leaders I work with is “why aren’t my people doing (behavior expected)?!” The answer is usually “because they didn’t know you wanted them to do that and that behavior is outside their current comfort zone.”
In the context of executing a project, a lack of clarity from the leader creates roadblocks to successful completion because the project team isn’t sure of their accountabilities.
Our clients find the “RACI” structure works well for creating clarity with project teams. “RACI” breaks down to those who are: