Accountability Under Pressure

post from Helen Horyza:

pressure, when you have been disappointed or your direction has been ignored, do
lose your temper? Do you attack the person who made the mistake? It can
happen in a split second. Unfortunately, the memory of your behavior will
linger much longer in the hearts and minds of your employees. Over time, you
create a culture of fear and mistrust.

how can you take an “accountable perspective” it the heat of a stressful
moment? The answer lies in your values. Ask yourself the following questions:

· What
is your why?

· What
are your leadership values?

· What
principles guide you at the deepest level?

you answer these questions, you have the basis for choosing accountability
under pressure.

is a real-life example. Dave, a former client of mine, was a Chief over about
700 people. He was working hard to create a healthy work culture. As part of
this effort, Dave held a multi-day off-site meeting including both middle and top

the second day of the event, one of Dave’s senior-staff members (without
consulting Dave) sent middle management home to save travel and hotel costs.
When Dave found out, he was livid. His entire motivation for the event was to include
everyone. He was ready to attack.

happened to be presenting at the front of the room that day and could see Dave
rocking back and forth on his feet, clearly agitated. I walked to the back of
the room and stood next to him. I asked him what was wrong. He explained the situation,
red faced and irritated.

anger was intense. He needed to be grounded. I asked Dave what his top three
leadership values were. He looked at me like I was insane. How dare I ask such
a stupid question at a moment like this? With some effort, he pulled himself
together and answered.

he said. “Helping Others, Integrity and Team Work.” I looked at Dave and calmly
suggested he handle the situation based on those values. I walked back to the
front of the room and continued teaching.

days later I checked in with Dave to find out how he resolved the offsite
debacle. “I didn’t do anything” he said. “What was done was done. My values
helped me remember the bigger picture. Confronting or blaming was not going to
change anything. It was a mis-communication.” He now had a tangible life
experience to fuel his efforts to be accountable under pressure.

accountability allows you to clear your emotions and focus on what you want to
accomplish and preserve relationships. Take a few moments to identify your top
three or four values. Write them and post them where you can see them every
day. Practice filtering your choices through your values, driving you, and the
people you lead, towards accountability.

Helen Horyza is the President of Elevate
Your Career Inc., and a recognized leadership and career development expert, Helen
integrates psychology, talent management and employee engagement to elevate
organizational culture. Her most recent book is
Elevate Your Career:  Live a Life You’re Truly Proud Of