Leaders especially, need to have accountability partners.
It isn’t a sign of weakness by any means. We all want people who will tell us what we want to hear, but we need people who tell us the unvarnished truth, help us stay on track with our objectives, and most importantly, ones who can caution us if we drift off course, and remind us of their why. Finding the right accountability partner is often like shifting into the fast lane. It delivers us with focus, perspective and insight.
Real behavioral change happens when we have daily reminders about the things we intend to do and we are accountable to other people for making good on those intentions. Marshall Goldsmith went so far as to write down questions about things he was working on, such as “Did I do my best to be happy?” Of course, you can be as straightforward as, “Did I say no to taking on one more responsibility that wasn’t a priority?” Whether you go philosophical or tactical, send your questions to your accountability partner, and then call each other every day to ask one of the questions, and see how you can adjust, or what is working well.
An accountability partner is a great way to motivate yourself and makes it more likely that you will achieve your goals. But an accountability partner is not a magic bullet. It won’t solve all your problems or make accomplishing your goal painless. That, my friend, depends on your willingness to put into action your vision and strategy.
If you understand that, then you should know that having an accountability partner can often make the journey toward your goals enjoyable and fun. Here are signs that you’re ready for an accountability partner:
You’re Willing to Motivate Yourself
If you don’t know how to motivate yourself already, then it won’t matter how many partners you have – you’ll still struggle. The best way to learn how to motivate yourself is to study projects and tasks you’ve completed previously. For example, when you created your first product, was it the pressure of a deadline that you kept you going? The daily rewards you created for yourself after you finished each task? Study what you’ve done previously. This will give you plenty of ideas on what motivates you.
You’re Willing to Take Responsibility
You’re not ready for an accountability partner until you can take responsibility for both your successes and your failures. It’s easy to dismiss your failures as being someone else’s fault or saying that “life just got in the way”. But this kind of approach means that you lack the discipline necessary to achieve your goals.
Remember it’s not an accountability partner’s job to change your life, or badger into the behaviors you claim to want. It’s also not their job to judge you if you skip a beat. It’s their responsibility to check in, and hold you accountable.
For clarity’s sake, holding you accountable means:
· Setting clear expectations for what success looks like
· Empathizing when things don’t happen how or when you had hoped
· Exploring different approaches and perhaps even providing resources
· Noting any patterns of not meeting objectives and addressing them
· Helping you set SMART goals
· And of course, consistent, ongoing feedback
You’re Willing to Be Transparent
Are you willing to share your bad habits, your deepest dreams and your biggest fears with someone else? Your accountability partner can’t help you unless you’re willing to be transparent.
You can’t hide out from your partner if you fail to meet a big goal or if you encounter roadblocks. You have to be open and honest with your partner if you really want your partnership to succeed. Remember, they aren’t there to judge you. They are there to help you see around your blind spots. If you aren’t going to let them in, that will be a big waste of time and energy for you and them.
You’re Willing to Accept Feedback
Accepting feedback about your projects and goals from someone else is never easy. It can leave you feeling uncomfortable and challenged. But that’s a good thing! If you’re too afraid to share what you’re working on or won’t talk about your goals, then don’t look for an accountability partner. An important element of having an accountability partnership is being humble enough to accept feedback. Even if you don’t always agree with what your partner says.
Remember, you get to make the ultimate choice whether their suggestions work for you. Accountability partners are just as human as you are.
An accountability partnership can be a beneficial relationship for both you and the other person. But it’s important to remember that you’re making a big commitment when you agree to take on a partnership. That’s why you need to be willing and ready to help each other succeed.