Compassion without accountability gets you nowhere.
Accountability without compassion gets you alienated.
Blending the two is the essence of great leadership. Let’s take a look.
Compassion without accountability:
• Believes listening, consensus and empathy are sufficient motivators of behavior.
• Avoids asking directly for things.
• Views confronting negative behavior as uncaring and mean.
• Common philosophy includes, “Be nice,” “Don’t hurt other people’s feelings,” “Put yourself in her shoes,” “Don’t raise your voice.”
• Results in poor follow-through, low confidence that goals will be accomplished, and a leader who is liked but not respected.
• Agreement without commitment.
Accountability without compassion:
• Believes rules, consequences and expectations are sufficient motivators of behavior.
• Avoids listening.
• Views empathy as a sign of weakness.
• Common philosophy includes, “Failure is not an option,” “High expectations are necessary,” “Sometimes you have to show them who’s boss.”
• Results in low morale and trust, and a leader who is feared but not respected.
• Compliance without loyalty.
• Openness to one’s own and others’ feelings, needs, and wants – validates emotions without commiserating or discounting.
• Resourcefulness around problem-solving – curiously explores possibilities without taking over responsibility for the solution.
• Persistence around commitments, goals, and boundaries – without threats, ultimatums, or implicit expectations.
In the long run, compassionate accountability feels better, gets more done, and builds stronger loyalties.