When teaching personal accountability to managers, it is not unusual to hear complete exasperation about the lack of accountability a boss demonstrates. As participants in accountability education it is almost impossible not to start thinking about “my unaccountable boss, who could really use this.”
My promise to those who provide true accounts of unaccountable bosses is this,the tools learned in the accountability education and training will provide a way to ‘accountable up’ the people who seem to be the barrier, including the boss. But first, it is important to understand that even the best tools and techniques won’t work if the need to make the boss wrong is greater than the need to accept you have to manage up with the unaccountable. This is a tough one because it is exasperating to have to help the boss do what they need to be doing for the money they make. If you can’t get over that, I understand. It isn’t fair and it sucks. Consider that if you are willing to learn and grow and try the tools, you are definitely going to be better off as you move on to greener pastures and a boss with a brain.
It all begins with reading this every single day:
I am responsible, self-empowered, and accountable for understanding the role, the task, the final deliverable, and the due dates for every assignment given to me or that I take on. It is up to me to be clear and successful in my role. If obstacles or conflicting priorities arise, it is still up to me to gain focus and create greater effectiveness. (Mindset) No fault, no blame, no guilt.
Then, whenever your boss is not being accountable to what he or she needs to do so that you can do your job and live up to the mindset you are internalizing, use the Clear Agreement form in The Accountability Experience workbook. Ask for ten minutes when there will be no interruption. Literally, bring a timer. This is a very efficient process and demonstrates you mean business and won’t waste your boss’ time. Review the Clear Agreement that you wrote up to get input so that you can make the needed adjustments together and fully own what you have been assigned. The result of this “managing up” step is that the boss is likely to realize that he or she may not be clear, that you are ready, willing and able to take the work on fully, and that in the future, the Clear Agreement is going to be really helpful.
If your requests for your boss’ full attention are blown off regularly, the unfortunate news is that they don’t deserve you and it is time to start looking. Or, accept that the organization you work for is willing to pay you to do the best you can working for a bad boss that they have no intention of dealing with. Just make sure you don’t fall into “victim mode” because that only hurts you.
Clear Agreement as an accountability tool is a fantastic, growth producing, energizing work tool. I’ve had many participants in The Accountability Experience report less frustration and more success as a result of the education and training. It does require you to step up. When agreements are this clear, there is nowhere to hide if your performance is lacking, but the learning can be second to none.
Unaccountable boss? Don’t use that person as your excuse unless you enjoy running in place.