Tag Archives: accountability

Equitable Leadership – Worth the Effort

My last LeaderSips blog took on what I consider to be - for the most part - a lazy and unfair leadership style: the "equal" approach. And judging from the response, I thought the topic warranted a deeper gulp rather than a morning sip.

While the opinion that "equal is unfair" seems counterintuitive, consider this scenario: you have enough money budgeted to send 2 colleagues to a week long training course. If you ascribe to the equal approach, you will put all the names of your department in a hat and let fate take its course. This will not take into account your employees who have the skills and the interest in the course. Nor will it recognize the employees who have worked hard at bringing their skill set to the point that additional training will be beneficial. It will send a message to your entire team that individual effort means nothing.

But you can rest easy because you treated everyone equally, right? Um, no.

For those who fall on the side of "equal" I make this argument: every employee is not equal. Their abilities, attitude, history, and contributions are all different. If, by chance, you have two employees who truly are equal - then by all means, treat them exactly the same. This will serve you particularly well if your team is made up of Stepford wives.

If, on the other hand, your team is comprised of humans, you might explore equitability. Taking this approach means more work. It means spending more time developing policies that are flexible, fair, and reasonable. It means knowing the needs, talents, and accomplishments of your employees. It means you know who has made significant contributions and you know who is skating by.

Often the fear of a disgruntled employee making accusations of favoritism keeps leaders from equitable decisions. The good news is, we're not in kindergarten. Support your decisions with facts, not opinions. This keeps you from going on the defensive - and gives you an opportunity to work with employees who feel they have been mistreated. "Why yes, David, Susan is going to the conference. You and I have talked about your attendance record, your inability to meet a deadline, and the customer complaints we've received. When you have shown demonstrable improvement in these areas, you certainly will be a candidate for a conference."

The decision then is in their hands. If they opt to put in the time and effort that is required, they can be afforded the same chances as their peers. Equal leadership gives everyone the same reward, regardless of effort. Equitable leadership ensures everyone knows where they are on the playing field - how close they are to the goal line, and what they must do to score. As a leader, it is requires a great deal of work. But if you are asking your team for extra effort, shouldn't you be doing the same for them?

3 Reasons Why “Equitable” Is More Effective Than “Equal”

I once coached a rising leader who insisted on treating her employees exactly the same way. She couldn't understand why she had so many HR issues. On the face of it, you might be thinking, "well, come on, that's the best way to be an effective leader." I disagree. Continue reading

3 Ways To Give Feedback That is Actually Helpful

If you're an effective leader, you know that waiting for the annual review to give your employee feedback is an utter waste of time. Ongoing, in-the-moment feedback is the best way to provide your employees with information that

Continue reading

3 Truths for Emerging Leaders

I've seen a lot of potential leaders, and I've seen many of them derail over commonly held myths. Here's some truths I want emerging leaders to know.

  1. Leadership is about behavior, not title. Just because you have a bright shiny new title doesn't mean people will automatically follow you. In the same vein, don't wait for the title to lead. Leadership is about influence, and ultimately it is your behavior that will be the deciding factor for those who chose whether or not to follow you.
  2. You are going to screw up. And when you do, your team will be watching carefully to see how you handle it. Set the right tone by admitting your error. Talk about the lessons learned. Apologize if appropriate. While you may be concerned that these responses show weakness, they actually prove one's grace and grit - and will go a long way to building trust and loyalty.
  3. Leading and managing are two different functions. Managers rely on systems and rules. Leaders create a culture of accountability. Managers maintain. Leaders innovate. Managers rely on control. Leaders inspire trust. Managers give orders. Leaders steward ideas.

I Knew I Could

i think i can

In the past 5 days two writers who I greatly admire have discussed "grit" as an important part of leadership and professional development. Hey, when I see a trend I act on it. So, let's talk about grit - true or otherwise.

Here's some random grit fun facts:

  • Abraham Lincoln was defeated in eight different elections. He went on to be one of the most respected Presidents of the United States.
  • Walt Disney was told he had no creative talent and fired from a newspaper job. He went on to create one of the world's most beloved cartoon characters.
  • Dr. Seuss's first book was rejected by 23 different publishers. The 24th publisher accepted it and sold 6 million copies.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from the varsity basketball team in his sophomore year. He went on to become one of the most successful and popular athletes in the world.
  • Elvis Presley was fired after his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry having been told, "you ain't going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck." Elvis became one of the most famous American singers of the 20th century.

Researcher Tammy Duckworth defines grit as "the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals."  Do you remember the story of the "Little Engine That Could?" Faced with unimaginable odds, this little train had the tenacity to do what no larger train could - make it over long, arduous terrain to its destination. "I think I can... I think I can... "

That's grit.

One of the writers I  alluded to above is Seth Godin. I'm a big fan of his. As he would be of me, if he knew I was alive. But I digress. Seth made the observation that grit equals hard work and persistence. And as long as he defines it with both of those qualifiers, I'm good.


Grit is not synonymous with hard work alone. It involves a certain single-mindedness. It's the difference between starting a new project every month and sticking with the same one until its difficult conclusion is reached. Both require hard work. Only one requires grit. 

And as the other writer I alluded to, Bill Hybels, has said, "the enemy of grit is ease." Grit is tough because you don't get the adrenaline rushes that new projects bring. It is slow, inch-by-inch success. It's that very moment when you say to yourself, "I knew I could..."

How to Create Seamless Accountability in Your Organization

integrityIntegrity in any organization is important. But in hospitality, this is doubly so.

Consider the amount of trust our guests put in us.

They arrive in a strange city and rely on our recommendations and suggestions. They enjoy a few drinks in our restaurants and may have fuzzy judgement. They retire to their rooms and drift off to sleep -  certainly a most vulnerable state for anyone.

As individuals and as an organization are we ensuring  we are acting with complete integrity at all times?

Said it? Do it.

When you make the decision to follow through on what you say you will do, you think differently about the commitments you make. You begin to create more meaningful and attainable deadlines - whether its getting extra towels to a room within 10 minutes or having a room ready for arrival with all special requests met. When you make a consistent effort to keep commitments, guests feel confident you can deliver the expected results. They begin to trust you. Trusting guests become loyal guests.

Missed it? Admit it.

Don't pretend it didn't happen, don't blame it on someone else. If you're the person standing in front of a disappointed guest, it doesn't matter who dropped the ball. For the guest, you are the organization and you owe an apology. Spreading this kind of accountability will do much more to create a bond with your guests than any attempt to create a happy illusion, no matter how well intentioned.

See it? Say it.

If there is an area or a circumstance that puts the organization's integrity at risk, say what needs to be said to someone who can do something about it. This contributes to an accountable environment.

Leaders, remember that for people to feel comfortable saying what needs to be said, they need an environment free from fear of retaliation. Even the most assertive person will shut up if retaliation is prominent in the culture. People who are encouraged to say what needs to be said, when it needs to be said are empowered to do whatever is productively and ethically necessary to obtain results.

Focusing on these three areas creates the kind of seamless accountability that allows guests to relax and enjoy their experience while building the loyalty that sustains an organization.