The second law of thermodynamics states that the universe tends toward disorder. So does your workplace, unless strong leaders with integrity and accountability step in to the fray. Problems don’t simply cure themselves. Unless acted upon by an outside source, things will fall further into disarray. This scientific principle holds true for personal and professional relationships alike. In today’s globalized, decentralized and technologically connected workplaces, we now have a high degree of task interdependence. That means we are no longer simply individuals fulfilling a given role, but rather partners who are increasingly dependent on each other’s activities for the performance of daily routines and the fulfillment of plans and goals. Accountability within the team is an imperative for productivity, efficiency and workplace satisfaction.
The biggest failure on the part of leaders is a lack of equitable accountability. Can you truly call yourself a leader if you fail to deal with issues that you either observe or are brought to your attention? If leaders simply choose to move a personnel problem from one department to another, or seek to placate or dismiss the issue, how does that help the organization meet its goals?
When you allow your team to pick up the slack for an employee not working to his potential or to create a dysfunctional work-around in effort to avoid addressing the root of a problem, you are allowing frustration to fester. And frustration is never good for the collective good of any organization. Believe me, you may get some immediate relief and think the problem has gone underground, but rest assured that others are still dealing with the repercussions of your unwillingness to take the bull by the horns. I guarantee you that behind all those smiling faces at your weekly staff meeting or corporate retreat, some very real problems are festering.
Those of you that have heard my presentation on the Big Five Personality traits know that “Conscientiousness” is one of the most important behaviors one can cultivate. Humanity is a collective. It’s a living organism. As such, it requires everyone to do their part for the body to function at optimal capacity. So, don’t let the poor performers or cancerous attitudes metastasize in your organization.
Please fellow leaders, let’s stop letting our folks down. We need to deal with problems head on. We need to surround ourselves with exemplary followers and co-leaders who can watch over the flock and chase the wolves out before they cause any damage. Hire well, then listen and respond appropriately so your team always knows they can rely on you. Let’s stop losing good people because they have lost faith in our ability to encourage and enforce accountability. Conscientiousness is inherent in strong character and, without it, we are nothing.