Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


Captain Accountability

Volume: September 2016

It seems as though Hollywood’s core movie offerings these days feature larger-than-life characters wielding special-fantastic powers. Well, the business world has a superhero to offer as well. The superhero of our adventure, however, is a seemingly ordinary leader who possesses an increasingly rare power. Our leader has the power to hold other people accountable. Let’s call this leader Captain Accountability. Yes, Captain Accountability can do it all: Communicate, collaborate, build a great team, and get things done. Captain Accountability cuts through staffing and budgetary kudzu like a knife. How does the Captain do it? Let’s take a look at the components of his secret powers.

  1. Mission & Purpose. Captain Accountability feels a deep sense of duty and commitment to his organization. In other words, he has passion for what he does. As such, he desires to serve and strengthen the organization. His focus helps them to resist the temptation to be non-confrontational when challenging issues arise. As a result, Captain Accountability is professionally confrontational and holds people accountable to their commitments and duties.
  2. Workplace Team Building. Continually building a better sense of team is one of the hallmarks of Captain Accountability. He drives teambuilding events. Through these events, he increases the camaraderie of his team members. In addition, effective teambuilding results in increased communication between team members. Captain Accountability knows that nothing overcomes communication barriers better than a successful teambuilding experience. 
  3. Communication Guru. Captain Accountability strives to have command of all areas of communication. His presentations sizzle. He is intentional about the kind of non-verbal communication he projects. He asks terrific open-ended questions and then listens fully to his colleagues’ answers. He is succinct, yet thorough. His emails are also succinct. He uses text messaging when it is appropriate, and he learns what methods of communication his direct reports, colleagues, and customers prefer. The result of Captain Accountability’s efforts is that his messages “stick.” His sticky communication is effective because it minimizes conflict and reduces errors and misunderstandings.
  4. Mantra of Collaboration. Captain Accountability understands that thematrix structure of his organization calls for terrific collaboration between cross-functional leaders and team members. His effective coordination and communication is paramount to overall team success. More than just talking about collaboration, Captain Accountability has made “effective collaboration with internal and external colleagues” a deliverable that appears on each team member’s annual review.
  5. Results-Driven. Daniel Goleman once said, “The leader’s singular job is to deliver results.” At the heart of things, Captain Accountability seeks to drive team accomplishment. As such, this solid leader believes that outstanding results are achieved when team members are empowered and then held accountable for his actions.
  6. Celebrate Success. Organizations that rate high on holding team members accountable consistently have a great deal to celebrate. Captain Accountability thirsts to catch people doing things right. Then, he rewards the heck out of what he has observed. When team results and goals are blown out, Captain Accountability creates celebratory experiences that are fun, meaningful, and most importantly, remembered.

Bottom Line: Real superheroes do not wear a cape, carry a shield, or transform their appearance. They are much more than that. Authentic superheroes are focused, fair, and bring out the best in their team members. At the end of the day, a real superhero holds himself and others accountable for delivering standout results. And nothing positively transforms people more than that.

Until next time, be well.

For Halloween this year, Doug Van Dyke, plans on donning Captain Accountability gear (”no capes”). Alternatively, he may appear as an executive coach, leadership development expert, or strategic planner. To have Doug speak at your next event, visit www.leadershipsimplified.comor email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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