Tag Archives: personal accountability


Oops! Five Ways to Recover After You’ve Made a Leadership Mistake

As a coach, it is my constant quest to help leaders lead well. All leaders at some point will make a mistake…And when that happens, it is vital that you immediately work on regaining trust, communication and influence with your team. How you may ask?

Ron Edmundson has some great tips below that are brief and effective. It will take clarity, courage and character to take the next step, but it will be worth it!

Your Coach,




5 Suggestions to Recover after You’ve Made a Leadership Mistake
by Ron Edmundson

Communicate quickly – You don’t have to tell the world, but those who need to know should hear it from you and not from anyone else. Let the offended parties know and the people who will have to answer for the mistake. This can’t be done too soon. Surprises like this never turn out well, but with advance knowledge many times further damage can be averted

Own it – Don’t make excuses. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Don’t blame others. Don’t say, “I’m sorry”, but then try to wrap the other person into your story. Ask forgiveness if necessary, but own it now. You made a mistake. Be a leader. Own the mistake and be willing to accept the consequences. You’ll be far more respected and stand a better chance of bridging support in the recovery process.

Stop the loss – Do whatever you can to stop further damaging from occurring. If there are financial issues involved, try to recover as much as you can. If there is collateral damage with relationships, apologize quickly and try to restore trust. I have always found a humble, yet not martyred, but confident response is usually best in these situations.

Figure out what’s next – Help the team recover. Find solutions. Don’t leave the clean up to anyone else. As you lead into the mistake — or even better — lead through the recovery. Help bring people together, seek wisdom, and help steer energy back to a more positive position.

Learn from it – The best thing you can do is to grow from mistakes — all of them. They can shape us as people and leaders — either positively or negatively. The good news is that we get to decide which one. In the process of recovery, sometimes keeping a journal is helpful. Start with the question, “What can I learn from this that will help me make better decisions in the future?”

Of course, the intensity of need for this depends on the size of the mistake and the size of injury caused to the team or organization, but the principles still apply in context.

Do you have any examples to add to this post from your own experience?

Adapted from its original text.

This article previously appeared at Shandel Group. If you enjoyed this post, read Shandel’s book, Clarity: Focusing on What Matters.

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The Practice of Personal Accountability – Part 2

Last time we discussed the Value of Personal Accountability. Now we will focus on the Practice of Personal Accountability.

“Personal Accountability is not hard… but it is impossible unless you know where to start.”

So where do we start? Start by looking in the mirror! Personal Accountability starts with “me”.

Think about it, most people attempt problem solving or troubleshooting by looking at everyone else first. Typically asking what the author of QBQ calls “Incorrect Questions”.

Incorrect Questions look like:

  • “Why” did they do…
  • “When” is that team going to complete…
  • “Who” missed their numbers…

These “Incorrect Questions” seem straightforward enough. However in reality whoever initiates questions like these are functionally isolating themselves from a sustainable solution. In light of this, let’s pull the thread on these types of questions, looking at the intended outcome and see just how these harmful Incorrect Questions look from this new vantage point.

Illuminated Incorrect Questions:

  • I am the victim here, “WHY” did they do …
  • I don’t want to procrastinate, but “When” is that team going to start…
  • I will blame the real culprit “Who” missed their numbers…

Can you see how these types of questions undermine trust and instill a lack of confidence in your people?

Asking “Proactive Questions” is the antidote to a lack of trust, the accelerant for how to grow relational equity with your people and implement productive action.

Proactive Questions look like:

  • “What” can I do to help…
  • “How” can I best support…

When you and I switch our focus to asking Proactive Questions, we begin eliminating bureaucracy and lead by example.  Regardless if you’re the Leader, Manager or an Entry-level employee. You and I begin to be the change that we want to see in our company. Not to mention over time you will begin to save time, money and eliminate unhealthy stress by helping people to thrive.

The practice of asking Proactive Questions will empower you and your people to stop playing the unnecessarily common blame game. Equipping you to work collaboratively and accomplish more together…remember, it is a practice. You and I must commit to making Proactive Questions a habit.

Is it time to invite Shandel Group to help lay the groundwork for your team or organization to learn the Value and Practice of Personal Accountability? Reach us here.

- Alan Andersen


The Value Of Personal Accountability – Alan Andersen

Have you read our most recent quarterly newsletter? In it we discussed gossip and the insidious effect it can have on relationships of all kinds. Being accountable and deciding if we are adding to negativity is an important in our personal accountability process.

This week we feature our newest coach, Alan Andersen. Alan addresses the topic of personal accountability. What role does it play in the workplace? In our personal relationships? Let’s find out!

Here’s Alan…

Have you noticed that we live in a day and age where one of our societal norms is having a low level of awareness? We hear employees say things like, “I can’t believe I didn’t get the promotion!” or “I had no idea that my communication style irritated you.”

What is the cost of this pervasive and detrimental disease? First, here are a few stats on our current state of stress, dissatisfaction and unhappiness:

The net effect is that 70% of the workforce is disengaged and this costs the U.S. economy more than 400 billion dollars (yes, ‘B’…FOR BILLION) in lost productivity annually! So what is the antidote to lost productivity?

Personal Accountability. The primary way to combat this shortfall is to adopt the practice of personal accountability. Instead of being in a typical individual or company become different! The choice is yours and the reality is that this is not rocket science but it does take diligent training.

I’ll share a personal anecdote that will get you heading in the right direction. This mindset has served me well in my journey to be more personally accountable. The concept is called “Win 3” and it’s taken from a story in the must-read QBQ by John G. Miller.

Essentially to be most successful at whatever I am doing, I have to win in 3 critical areas of life…

  1. Myself. I must overcome my fears; crushing apathy and training (personally and professionally) like no one else.

  2. My Opponent. The metaphorical opponent may be a project, competitor or even my colleague. I must “win them over”.

  3. The Referee. The ref is a metaphor for things out of my control. I must overcome any hitch, hurdle or hardship.

What if we approached each day with a fresh spirit to winsomely overcome obstacles or critics? I am not alluding to a zero sum game, but rather a win-win approach to our personal and professional life. I assure you, if we lived in such a manner that no one or thing could take us down. We would be unstoppable.

So how do I become unstoppable? I am glad you asked, it all starts with asking “Proactive Questions”. Proactive questions are at the root of Personal Accountability. This is training that Shandel Group specializes in and we can help you, your team and even your leadership grow into personally accountable people.

If you’re ready to gain productivity or increase performance, we can help! We will engage, empower and equip you and your people to learn the art of asking the proactive question and become unstoppable.

- Alan Andersen


Time to Get Personal!

Do you connect with people? You may have brilliant ideas. You may work incredibly hard.

But if you can’t communicate well and build rapport with others – well, we need to work that on that!

Someone with strong interpersonal skills is viewed by superiors and peers as a valuable resource — something we all want to be. They’re happier, too!

What do we mean by interpersonal skills? Communicating, building rapport, and relating to all kinds of people.

We’re not just talking about touchy-feely stuff here. There’s a bottom-line aspect to having strong interpersonal skills. It actually increases productivity in the organization. And in the midst of a tense situation, people with these skills can respond appropriately and make good judgments.

How do you relate?

Check this list and see how you measure up. Someone who has strong interpersonal skills:

  • Strives for self-awareness.
  • Demonstrates sincere interest in others.
  • Treats all people with respect, courtesy and consideration.
  • Respects differences in the attitudes and perspectives of others.
  • Listens, observes and strives to gain an understanding of others.
  • Communicates effectively.
  • Is sensitive to diverse issues.
  • Develops and maintains relationships with many different kinds of people, regardless of cultural differences.

I know this is a lot to chew on. But strong interpersonal skills can mean the difference between things as minor as your day-to-day happiness at the office and as major as the future of your career!

How to develop these skills?

  •  Listen and pay attention both to what other people say and what other people do.
  •  Be tolerant of others and their unique points of view. It is critical to establishing rewarding interpersonal
    relationships. Recognize that others’ viewpoints are as important to them as yours are to you!
  • Smile often. Maintain a positive, cheerful attitude about work and about life. The positive energy you radiate will draw others to you.
  • Be appreciative. Find one positive thing about everyone you work with and let them hear it. Be generous with praise and kind words of encouragement.
  • Pay attention to others. Observe what is going on in other people’s lives. Acknowledge their happy milestones and express concern and sympathy for difficult situations.
  • Resolve conflicts. Take a step beyond simply bringing people together and become someone who resolves conflicts when they arise. By taking on a leadership role, you will garner respect and admiration from those around you.
  • Communicate clearly. Pay close attention to what you say and how you say it. A clear and effective communicator avoids misunderstandings with coworkers, colleagues and associates.
  • Use humor. Don’t be afraid to be funny or clever. Most people are drawn to a person that can make them laugh. Use your sense of humor as an effective tool to lower barriers and gain people’s affection. However, never use humor at someone else’s expense.
  • Share personal information about your likes, dislikes and interests. You can’t expect other people to share information if you don’t.
  • Constantly monitor the other person’s reactions to ensure that your message is on target and being received in the way you want it to be perceived.
  • Use appropriate non-verbal communication. Make eye contact, have a serious expression, and speak clearly and firmly.
  • Be optimistic and positive about eventual outcomes. Celebrate small successes and reward people for their cooperation.

In our next blog post, we’re going to look at some fun activities anyone can do to develop or to strength specific interpersonal skills. So check back, and be ready to learn!

Your Coach,



How to Be A Better Leader via Personal Accountability

What keeps you in your rut? What is slowing you down? In what area do you struggle most? It could be that you need to work on your Personal Accountability competency. Leaders that test strong in the skill of Personal Accountability do not make excuses for their poor decisions instead they take responsibility and focus their attention on correcting the problem at hand.  A person who with a low sense of Personal Accountability will seek to blame others for their failures in order to protect their public image. These leaders will rationalize their poor behavior and suffer from acute self-awareness.

William Brooks notes a few basic principles of Personal Accountability:

  • Successful people do things that failures don’t like to do.
  • People will rise to the level of high expectations.
  • Practice is an essential element of commitment to excellence.
  • Be true to your word and honor your commitments, even when you don’t want to.

We all struggle in this area and we all need to work on it. The first step is Awareness and the second step is Humility to want to change. The third is Action so keep reading and I believe you will walk away with your personal A-HA moment

Personal Accountability can be assessed and measured. At True Life, we use the TriMetrix report to help companies assess this competency in the hiring process as well as their management training programs. Unfortunately, leaders at the top somehow skip this training as they rise so quickly to the top. Could it be your time to work on this competency is now?

Brooks shares 10 ways you can develop the skill of Personal Accountability: 

  1. Set your own goals, professional and personal then tie your goals to the organization’s key missions and values. Work daily on those goals
  2. Make commitments and keep them. Do not make promises you can’t keep.
  3. Be available to employees, peers and managers if they need to discuss difficult issues. Show that you can be trusted by NEVER betraying their confidential information.
  4. When facing a difficult decision, analyze different alternatives, consult with appropriate individuals within your organization, then take decisive action on whatever decision you make.
  5. Be prepared to explain your rationale. Be open to others’ reactions and help them come to terms with your decisions if they don’t agree with it.
  6. Learn from the wisdom of others – ask people you trust for their opinions and value their advice.
  7. If you make a mistake, admit it. Then work immediately to put the fire out!
  8. Once you have remedied a problem, analyze the mistakes you made. Think about how you could have handled things better and work to implement your new ideas into your daily life.
  9. If you are over committed or truly can’t handle another new task, say “no.” If your manager demands that you pursue a new goal, make sure she understands how it will affect earlier directives you were given.
  10. Don’t shoot the messenger of bad news.

What action can you take today to work on your personal accountability? Share it below

Your Coach,