I have a good friend who shares the adage “I’ve got your back” and lives it out as he helps others in their quest to be successful in their role. His message is always conveyed in a manner that encourages accountability, but also aids in the release of the pain of failure, the disappointment of letting others down, and the emotional spiral that people experience as they are embarrassed by their poor results.
Accountability is a great tool to encourage and support individuals and teams as they work towards goals and objectives. It enables the freedom to act within appropriate boundaries while supporting individuals as they use their gifts and skillsets for the betterment of the group. However, if not handled well, accountability can also damage or destroy initiative and growth.
In his book, The Power of the Other, Dr. Henry Cloud shares that “one of the problems we see most often is that accountability conversations are held in negative emotional climates, with toxic outbursts and shaming. We hear “How could you have done that?” and “How could you let that happen?” These are really statements, not questions. In effect, we are saying, “You’re an idiot!”
Few things in our world of work create unresolvable situations, especially if we take the time to set clear boundaries, accountabilities and expectations. Together, we can work through almost anything. Great leaders take the time to be sure that their teams and team members understand the details of these three aspects.
We have all experienced the pain of “failure” made worse by the embarrassment and group exposure it brought upon us. It is at those moments that we desperately need to hear people sincerely say, “I’ve got your back.” It is even more powerful when spoken by the leader.
How about you? Are you lying in wait to pounce on an error? Or, are you watching for your opportunity to be the leader who says, “I’ve got your back”?
Your team knows the answer. It is never too late to let them know that you have their back.