According to DDI’s 2023 global leadership forecast, the top skills of leaders who boost engagement, retain great employees and create cultures that thrive is interpersonal communication skills. When it comes to interpersonal communication skills, one of the most common questions we get asked is, “How do you balance kindness, care and concern with attention to outcomes?” Everyone struggles with this tension. Yet, it’s the holy grail for safe, thriving cultures. Here’s the conundrum. Compassion without accountability gets you nowhere. Accountability without compassion gets you alienated. You can’t win if you pick sides, and trying to perform a balancing act between them is no better. The good news is that leaders no longer have to choose.
Nate Regier, PhD, is the CEO and founder of Next Element Consulting, a global leadership consulting and training firm helping build cultures of compassionate accountability. Dr. Regier is a former practicing psychologist and expert in social-emotional intelligence, interpersonal communication, conflict skills, and
leadership. Nate is a sought-after keynote presenter, recognized as a Top 100 keynote speaker. Nate is the author of four books: Beyond Drama; Conflict without Casualties; Seeing People Through; and his newest book, Compassionate Accountability. He hosts a podcast called “On Compassion with Dr. Nate,” writes a weekly blog, contributes to multiple industry publications, and is a regular guest on podcasts.
Compassionate Accountability Topics
- [00:04:44] “Compassionate accountability – not opposites”
- [00:06:57] Compassion mindset values people’s capabilities, responsibilities.
- [00:11:28] Value switch: affirm experiences, separate person, vulnerability.
- [00:15:00] Leaders feel alone; Mastermind combats it.
- [00:17:02] Compassion and vulnerability create transformation in community.
- [00:21:48] Maximize capability through curiosity and investment. [00:27:13] Prescription for leaders: empathize, learn, aspire.
- [00:31:05] Accountability vs responsibility for leaders and teams.
- [00:34:22] Middle managers have limited control management advice.
If you want to check out more of Nate’s resources be sure to look at the following links:
- Listen to his previous episode #59
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The following is an AI generated transcript which should be used for reference purposes only. It has not been verified or edited to reflect what was actually said in the podcast episode.
Scott McCarthy [00:00:01]:
Hey, sir, welcome back to the show. So good to have you here.
Nate Regier [00:00:06]:
Scott, it is great to be here. It’s been a minute and I’m so glad to be back with you.
Scott McCarthy [00:00:11]:
A minute. It’s been on now let me, let me do the math here. 214 episodes since you are just the.
Nate Regier [00:00:24]:
Show you were just finding before. You were finding your stride before and now you’re really humming. So I’m glad to be part of.
Scott McCarthy [00:00:31]:
This for the listener. Nate was on the show about way back, episode 59 when I was like really first, truly starting, really, to be honest, really getting going. So thanks for coming back.
Nate Regier [00:00:45]:
Yeah, you bet. It’s good to be here.
Scott McCarthy [00:00:48]:
So before we had you on and we were talking about using conflict for good and by the way, for the listener out there, if you want to check out that episode, it’s easy, just go to leaddownboss.com 59 and you’ll be able to listen to that episode right there, which is a great episode, actually. It was an interesting topic, conflict for good. But now today we’re talking about compassionate accountability.
Nate Regier [00:01:13]:
How do we get there? Yes, well, we pioneered this concept probably eight years ago, the concept of compassionate accountability back when nobody was putting those two words together. And actually the book we talked about on episode 59, Conflict Without Casualties, the subtitle said it was a field guide for leading with compassionate accountability. And so we were already talking about it back then, but we hadn’t really elevated it to a real framework with real tangible stuff and practical tools that people could use. And we have so much more experience now, so it’s hit the mainstream and man, we need to be talking about it.
Scott McCarthy [00:01:59]:
What is compassionate accountability? Because I talk about accountability often on the show and how important it is. But from your standpoint, I love to know what the compassionate aspect of it is.
Nate Regier [00:02:12]:
Well, I’ll tell you what it’s not. It’s not tough love, it’s not radical candor or oh, we’re going to have another tough conversation. And it’s not just accountability while you’re being nice. All of those represent an effort to act like compassion and accountability are somehow opposites. Like, oh, you can be kind and nice to people and altruistic or you can get results, but sometimes you have to choose. And what we’re saying is, no you don’t. Because compassion, by its very definition in nature, actually already includes accountability. You can’t even have compassion without it. So the big concept is compassionate accountability is a thing, it’s not just a modifier. And that’s, I think, where the breakthrough happens.
Scott McCarthy [00:03:03]:
I like that it’s not tough love aspect of it because I think that’s kind of what initially people would think about it, right? So with compassion accountability, you almost need to have, I guess, a certain type of mindset to be affecting this.
Nate Regier [00:03:25]:
Would you not do? And we’ve been studying mindset for a long time. And it’s popular there’s. Carol Dweck’s. Growth mindset. There’s a lot of mindsets, but we’ve been studying what is the mindset in order to be able to live out the kind of compassion that we’re talking about here. That includes accountability. And I think it starts with a better definition of compassion. And there’s so many myths out there about what compassion is. Some people think it’s just being kind. Some people think it’s pure altruism. You’re going to go take away everybody’s suffering, we’re going to help people. But compassion, what we’ve come to realize is compassion is the practice of demonstrating that people are valuable, capable and responsible in every interaction, not just being nice, but we have to acknowledge and act as though people are valuable and capable and responsible. And when you put all three of those together, that’s a whole different mindset about what kind of a relationship we’re getting into with people. And so for us, the compassion mindset comes from this recognition that this is how we need to treat people.
Scott McCarthy [00:04:39]:
So it goes beyond just the incident of a one time thing or something occurs, but rather, from what I’m hearing from you, is this is a mindset that carries on throughout. You show up in the morning and when you leave at the end of the day and carry on into the night.
Nate Regier [00:04:57]:
One of my favorite compassionate accountability people is Doug Conan, and he’s the guy that’s well known for turning around the Campbell Soup Company when it was failing. And he had the saying called being, I’m going to be tender hearted with people, but tough minded on standards. And he got rid of like 330 out of 370 leaders when he joined. But it was because he wanted to build a place where we could equally show that compassion and accountability. And it was a mindset. It’s not just a one time thing. It’s every single interaction that we have with people. How are we affirming the value, the capability and the responsibility of both parties in the interaction? So he was famous for saying the action is in the interaction. So you’re right, it’s in the smallest interactions. And it’s not just about a one time thing. It’s about a whole philosophy and a whole way of approaching our world and our role as leaders.
Scott McCarthy [00:05:59]:
That’s a great example, actually. I don’t reference the Campbell Soup one much on the show, actually. This actually might be the first time it gets referenced here, but I think it’s very fitting, obviously. So you just talked, you just hit on it. I like for us to dive a little bit deeper. And how do we go about instilling this in our organizations on a daily basis? Like as we said, this can’t be a one and done. This has to be bred into the organization, and it has to be truly believed in. So how do we start doing that? Vice clearing. Absolutely.
Nate Regier [00:06:37]:
Well, people can change that’s. The good news. In my new book, Compassionate Accountability, I share tons of research showing that anybody can learn to do this. People come about it in different ways. Anyone can learn it. But it starts with being clear about our definition. So compassion is the practice of demonstrating that’s the first part. We have to demonstrate it through our behaviors. What are we demonstrating? That people are valuable, capable, and responsible. When do we do that? Every interaction, every day. So if we take those three words I’ve said them a couple of times already value, capable, responsible. Think of those as, like, switches. That when you turn them on inside, when you change your mind about how you see yourself in somebody energy flows, think about a three switch outlet. I’ve got one right over there that I look at all the time, and I have one here. Your listeners can’t see it, but you can see this guy right here. It’s here to remind me every day that when the switches are turned on, energy flows. The lights come on, everything is amazing, and I can see. But when the switches are turned off, energy is blocked. There’s all this amazing energy of our people, but it can’t be leveraged when the switches are off. So we teach people how to turn on those switches. And you do it through your behaviors. You got to live it out. And so there are very specific behaviors that show that your switch of value is on, that your switch of capability is on, and that your switch of responsibility is on. And then once people understand what those behaviors are, we can really start holding ourselves accountable for so are we doing it or not? And in any interaction, in any system, in any process, are our switches on while we’re doing this or not? Because you can tell. You can tell by how we behave.
Scott McCarthy [00:08:27]:
That’s awesome. I like that. The switch thing and yeah, the three switch reminder. There must be a powerful tool, for sure. Now, you mentioned that there are certain actions that we can do to demonstrate that we have those switches on. I’d love to dive into those for each one of those, so that the leaders out there listening have some tangible things they can go ahead and execute upon today, tomorrow, whenever they listen to the show. So what are they?
Nate Regier [00:08:56]:
Yeah, well, in my book, I dedicate one chapter to each switch. So what are all the clusters of behaviors that turn the switch off, and what are the clusters that turn them on? But I’ll focus on just one or two for each switch. One of the most powerful behaviors that turns on the value switch is when we can affirm and acknowledge people’s experiences as valid and we don’t judge them. Your feelings, your thoughts, where you come from, what you bring to the party. The way you’re experiencing a situation is uniquely yours. And psychological safety is founded on being able to affirm and value people’s experiences as legitimate, even if we can’t relate. So what’s so important about that is being able to separate the person from the behavior. So you may react differently to a situation than me. And both of our reactions are unique to who we are. They’re valuable and they make us human. We don’t need to judge those. Now, what we do about it is a whole nother thing. So we talk about how do you affirm a person’s experiences, even if you can’t relate, to show them that you value who they are as a human being. And then how do you separate the person from the behavior? Because we do have to talk about behavior. That’s accountability. So that’s one core thing that we talk about and just one other one to turn on the value switch is vulnerability. Leaders are scared of it. They think it’s weakness and it’s absolutely the opposite. Vulnerability takes incredible courage because we’re choosing to reveal our feelings, our intentions, our motives, what matters to us, why we get up every day, the things we don’t tell anybody, but they’re actually driving our behavior. When you choose to share that stuff, it’s super vulnerable because you’re being transparent. But what you’re also doing is saying I want to connect with you as another human being. And when you show your cards, you really can struggle with another person instead of struggling alone. Is that kind of what you were looking for, is maybe of some specific things we can do to turn on that switch?
Scott McCarthy [00:11:02]:
Absolutely. And I really enjoyed the comment about psychological safety. It’s probably one of the things we talk about the most here at the podcast because it has so many facets and such an impact and building to lead ourselves, our teams and organizations. Now, you mentioned that you dive into some things that turn the switches on, but I’m also curious about things that turn the switches off because I have unfortunately learned the hard way and many times on things how not to do, what not to do. So I think that as well could be a valuable lesson for leaders out there.
Nate Regier [00:11:42]:
Well, at a macro level. So if compassion means to struggle with, to suffer with, we’re in this together, that’s what compassion means, then what is the opposite of struggling with? Because when we struggle with people we have our switches on, we’re both valuable, we’re both capable, we’re both responsible, let’s do this. But there’s a couple other ways to struggle we could struggle against. Meaning we turn every situation into a win, lose, I got to win. You lose or I lose, you win. Or it’s a contest, or it’s an ego battle, or it’s a clamoring for resources. Struggling against our switches are off. We could struggle instead of have you ever had someone take your struggle away from you and as a result you didn’t get to learn you felt incompetent. You felt like they didn’t value your capability. You didn’t learn anything. They just was like, Here, let me show you, or Here, let me do it for you. And so when we struggle instead of other people, instead of with them, we undermine their capability. We undermine their ability to learn. And then the third kind of struggle that never ends well is struggling alone. How many leaders out there are struggling? They’re afraid of how they appear. They’re wanting to impress their constituency. They want that raise. They want to be seen as a caring person. They don’t tell anybody. So they just suffer in silence. They never ask for help. They don’t tell anybody what’s going on. And then they spiral and they start doing all these things that are self destructive. So when we struggle against instead of or alone, our switches are off and there’s no compassion there. And we don’t get to really manifest the benefits of compassionate accountability.
Scott McCarthy [00:13:28]:
I’m so happy I asked you that question, especially for the last bit. The struggling alone, that is such a huge issue. I hear about it from leaders every single day. They feel alone. They feel isolated. Many of them don’t have necessarily peers. Their supervisors are unavailable for whatever reason. Maybe they’re geographically dislocated. Maybe the interest level isn’t there. And they struggle alone in darkness. And that is literally the reason. This is something new since over well over 200 episodes. But I created a Mastermind community to combat that. A community for leaders to come together. And we talk about our struggles together, and we give each other ideas on how to go about getting through those struggles together. So we call it the leader growth mastermind. And we meet weekly. And that’s the whole goal is so that leaders don’t feel alone. And for the listener out there, if you’re interested in learning more and you’re struggling, this speaking to you, it behooves you to go to leadoboz.com Mastermind. That link is obviously in the show notes for today’s episode as well. Check us out. Come try us out because I guarantee you, you won’t regret it. And I can tell you one of the members, lady named Heather so she’s basically a general manager of a company, and she was feeling completely alone, struggling alone. The company owner has multiple other companies that he runs. So she’s basically running the company alone. She’s like, I am so alone. And she found us. And now she’s like, wow, I feel enlightened. I feel like I have a community behind me. I feel basically what you’re talking about here, that compassionate accountability. We hold her accountable. She shows up every week. She’s like, I’m going to do this this week. We’re like, okay, cool. But at the same time, we’re there for her to lean on us.
Nate Regier [00:15:30]:
That is so great that you’re creating that community. Because if compassion means to struggle with, then my question is this. How can you struggle with other people if they don’t know what you’re struggling with. And when we create places for people to come together in a safe way, but also to take the risk, it’s like I also have to initiate saying, here’s where I’m struggling. Here’s what I’m dealing with. And it doesn’t indict my character or my competence. It means I’m human and we support each other, and that feels really good to help another person. Can I tell a story about someone that transformation? So we were working with a large hospital system and just coming out of COVID Talk about stressed out people that are just at their wits end, and they’ve been dealing with everything caught in the crossfires politically, with the vaccine and with COVID and everything. This this surgeon, highly successful pediatric surgeon, she said, you know, I was I was working we were going through our training on compassion, accountability. And she said, you know, every time I go into surgery, it’s always high stakes. Kids, children going into surgery, it’s high stakes. And I’m barking orders at all of my nurses. You got to get the orders in, get the releases signed, you got to get insurance information, all this stuff. It’s chaos. It’s crazy. Everybody hates it. And that’s the way we get ready for this most incredible thing that I’m going to do. And everything’s riding on it. The whole family cares. It’s like, why? And she goes, I’m scared to tell my people that I’m afraid too, and I need them. And she said, So I tried something different. I gathered my whole team before this really high stakes surgery with, I think, a four or five year old. Really high stakes. She said, you know what? I’m scared to tell you this, but I’m also anxious. I know I can do this, but I want it to turn out good. The stakes are high and I need your support. What if we saw ourselves as a team and you helped me feel less anxious and more confident so I could do a good job? And it was crazy. She said she was worried that everybody was going to question her competence. Like, you’re the surgeon. You’re supposed to have everything figured out, right? You’re the confident one, and how can we trust you going to surgery when you say you’re scared? But the opposite happened. They all were like, oh, my God, thank you so much, because we’re also freaking out here because you’re yelling at us all the time. And they all rallied to get the paperwork in, get the insurance done, talk to the family. They rallied like a team. They did an amazing surgery, and then afterwards, they all celebrated together. And it completely transformed the energy of that team when she decided to get vulnerable and ask for help and say, can we struggle together instead of struggling against each other?
Scott McCarthy [00:18:16]:
Common goal makes amazing things. And just the ability to come together and bond as a group. Right, as a team, as you said. Yeah.
Nate Regier [00:18:30]:
And it’s an example of the subtitle of the book which says how leaders build connection and get results. Notice in that situation, she didn’t choose one over the other. She said, we’re going to get results by building connection and we’re going to build connection so we can get results. And the end result was higher quality surgery. Those people stuck around, they’re more engaged, less likely to leave, and now they’re closer as a team. So it’s everything at one time.
Scott McCarthy [00:18:59]:
Yeah, absolutely. So we talked about some of the things to do and not to do for diverse switch. I like to kind of boot back and pick back up where we left off with the other two, if you don’t mind.
Nate Regier [00:19:11]:
You’re a military guy, you don’t miss a thing, right. You got to get back on track.
Scott McCarthy [00:19:14]:
We have back on track.
Nate Regier [00:19:16]:
Absolutely. Okay, so capability switch. The capability switch comes from the fundamental belief that everyone is capable of contributions under the right conditions. Everyone. So what that means then is our job is to learn what you’re good at, learn what you can do, invest in you, invite you in to be part of the solution and maximize your capability. So what people can do to turn that switch on is get curious and learn about your people. Find out what they love, what they’re good at, what gives them joy and passion, how they’re motivated. And then look for ways to leverage that. But don’t stop there. Also invite them to strive higher, invest in them, challenge them, ask them to be more today’s newer generation. They don’t just want to be the heroes. They want to be learning and growing and challenging themselves every single day. And so we got to do that. But the best way you can turn off the switch is to act like you can do it better, smarter, faster yourself. And that is one of the biggest problems with newly promoted leaders, is they were promoted because they’re good at what they do. They’re nailing it. They’re delivering results every single day. So they get promoted and now they try to tell everyone else how to deliver results and they just keep doing the same thing. Instead of saying that, now you have to help them figure out how to solve problems like you used to, you can’t solve it for them because that takes away all the joy, all the fun, all the satisfaction. And so with good intentions, one of the worst things we can do to turn off the capability switch is to rescue people and not be with them in the struggle, but instead try to take it away and show them how to do it or tell them, don’t let them struggle at all. So that’s kind of where the capability switch can go on and off. There’s a lot of other things. One of the worst things we can do to keep the switch off is to try to hold information, hoard information, because it gives us power, gives us a little bit of control. And that information that we’re holding onto is something that could help our teammate thrive, that could help them succeed. It could help them be so much better because we start to believe that my idea is the one that I need to win rather than it’s the best idea that should be winning. That’s a capability switch in a nutshell.
Scott McCarthy [00:21:36]:
Yeah. No, you nailed it on the turning off aspect when you mentioned about leaders getting promoted and like, hey, this is how we do it. I know better because I got promoted and God, I see that in the sales folks so much. Someone comes from a sales was like, oh, the top salesperson, let’s promote them and make them the sales manager. And then suddenly they’re expected to lead the team and then why is the team not performing? I gave them the script. I gave them all the exactly what I did, blah, blah, blah. Well, congratulations, they’re not you.
Nate Regier [00:22:13]:
Yeah. And they want to also learn and grow. I want to ask leaders, do you remember the satisfaction you experienced when you figured something out and when you solved a problem and you were able to go to your boss and say, check this out, look what I did. It’s like you’re taking away their ability to do that. One of my colleagues, Jamie Rensberg, one of her favorite sayings to leaders is be a sounding board, not a solution board. And I think that’s just wonderful advice, 100%.
Scott McCarthy [00:22:42]:
I talked to my team and this may come across as weird because military context, but I talked to my team like, hey, when I give you a task, you can come in and bounce ideas off me. I’m not going to judge you. Sometimes we need to hear our own voices. Sometimes you know what? Come for a bit of advice. I’m not going to say, oh, you’re incompetent. In fact, I think the other way. I think you’re actually more capable, more competent if you come in and say, hey, need you a little vice, need to bounce some ideas off you.
Nate Regier [00:23:15]:
Scott McCarthy [00:23:15]:
Because you’re actually thinking through and in fact, you’re not just hiding and going, okay, I’m just going to bash through so that I can try to prove myself. No, it doesn’t work.
Nate Regier [00:23:26]:
And that brings up something you probably is connected to. What you’re doing is what kind of a context do we create where people can learn from failure in non catastrophic ways? Because, man, we’re going to fail. Let’s face it, saying failure is not an option is for some really rare situations. But in life when we say that we’re setting ourselves up, what we should be saying is fail often, fail frequently and fail forward because that’s how you’re going to really get to the highest levels of success. And leaders who create a place where people can experiment and take some risks and learn and grow and fail forward actually end up having fewer errors, higher levels of quality over time.
Scott McCarthy [00:24:14]:
I love it. I’m a huge fan of failure because for me, as I tell my team, I’m like, I want us to fail. Why? Because that to me, means we’re pushing the envelope. We’re trying new things. We’re trying to break the status quo. We’re trying to get ahead of the curve. We’re trying out. And we are learning, just like Edison’s quote, right? We’re learning how the light bulb was not made and learning how it’s not made. We’ll figure out how it actually is made in the end.
Nate Regier [00:24:41]:
Here’s a prescription that I offer for leaders. Whenever anybody screws up and they come to you or you find out about it and you go to them, whatever, hit these three things in this order. Number one, empathize. It’s like, oh my gosh, I can’t imagine how embarrassed you must feel. This sucks. Everybody hates to fail. We got you, Empathize. Then the second thing is ask the big questions like, what did we learn? What didn’t work? And where can we take this? And then finally, aspire to the highest, keep the most important thing, the most important thing by saying, what are we going to do now to reduce the likelihood of this happening next time? What are we aspiring to? What is our highest standards that we’re striving for? And when you start with, hey, it sucks to have this happen, I get it. What did we learn? And then, what are we going to do different next time so that we can reduce the chance of this happening? Your people, they step up and they love that.
Scott McCarthy [00:25:37]:
Nate Regier [00:25:37]:
Scott McCarthy [00:25:38]:
Nate Regier [00:25:38]:
Okay, we fix it to the last switch.
Scott McCarthy [00:25:40]:
Let’s hit the last switch.
Nate Regier [00:25:41]:
All right, so responsibility. So when you value people, including yourself, then you can find out what’s really going on. Then you can talk about capability. How do we increase our capability and honor that? Then we can get to issues of responsibility and accountability because now we can start talking about why are we here? What commitments do we have to each other, to the organization, to the mission, and how are we going to move forward to that. And when the responsibility switch is turned on, we subscribe to the belief that no matter what happened before, I am 100% responsible for what I do next. No pointing fingers. But also not taking on undue responsibility that prevents other people from doing their part. So there’s a real fine line between owning my stuff and that includes my feelings, my thoughts, my behaviors, and inviting other people to step up and own their stuff. And so one of the ways that we turn on the switch is by just clarifying what matters. Here’s what this is about. Let’s talk about our principles. Let’s hold our mission out front so we all can see it every single day. What commitments are we making to each other? Let’s talk about them. Things that we can do to turn the switch off is when we point fingers, something goes wrong and we’re like, all right, who did it? Or we need to do a root cause analysis or who didn’t get the email? It’s like we’re all trying to point fingers and create. Like every mistake is time for a who done it? Mystery and we don’t own our feelings, so we try to export them to people. Things didn’t go as I wanted and I feel embarrassed. So I’m like, all right, who screwed this up? And what I really should be saying is I feel embarrassed and can we talk about what happened and so we can learn from it, make sure this doesn’t happen again? So it’s basically own your crap is what I’m saying, and invite others to own theirs. And when we do that, we can really thrive.
Scott McCarthy [00:27:32]:
Yeah, I love it. I got a couple of thoughts that are conflicting my head right now.
Nate Regier [00:27:39]:
I want to hear.
Scott McCarthy [00:27:41]:
Yeah. Do you subscribe to the whole extreme ownership mindset philosophy or are you track?
Nate Regier [00:27:49]:
Tell me a little bit about it. Describe it a little bit and I can answer your question.
Scott McCarthy [00:27:54]:
So it’s basically as a leader and the way I summarize this, my team is responsible for our successes, I’m responsible for our failures. So the extreme ownership aspect of it, i, as the leader of my team, could figure out I should have done something that enabled us to be successful. And if I didn’t do something, that’s why we’re failing. So I either didn’t provide the right guidance and direction, didn’t provide the right resources, didn’t provide training, didn’t do this, whereas when we succeed, our team is responsible for that success because they’re ones actually out executing, doing the job for us.
Nate Regier [00:28:33]:
No, I don’t subscribe to it, but I probably subscribe to it more than you think. But I’m going to say no, because we are all responsible for our own behaviors. Good, positive, or not, nobody is responsible for my behavior except for me. However, as the leader, I am accountable for the outcomes of my people. So that means if I’m accountable to, let’s say, an organization, I’m the CM, I’m the Chief Marketing officer. I’m accountable to my team and to my organization, for the leads generated and the basic public reputation of my company, I’m accountable for that. I have to answer for it. But am I responsible for the individual daily behaviors of the people in my marketing department? No, I’m not responsible for what they put on social media yesterday. They are. Which means when they screw up, I’m accountable for that. And I got to go talk to them because they’re the ones that are going to fix it. So I’m responsible for my behaviors that enable my people to. Deliver on the results for which I’m accountable. And that maybe is a bit of a mouthful, but I think it’s important that we clarify the difference between accountability and responsibility. I can never be responsible for more than me or less than me, but I can be accountable for the outcome of a lot of people because I have to answer for that. So then the question is, so what behaviors do I have to do in order to get what I need and what I want from those people? And one of them is I have to make sure they know that they’re the ones responsible for their behaviors, not me. This whole thing about the buck stops with me. Wait, what if it’s your buck? I don’t want your buck to come over to my desk. It’s your buck. The buck stops with you if it’s your dollar. The buck stops with me if it’s my dollar. But I’m not taking on your buck and you’re not taking on mine. And that’s why we work as a team and we have to get crystal clear about that. So I don’t know, maybe I kicked a goat there or prodded something I shouldn’t have. But I don’t think ultimately we can succeed if the leader is only going to take responsibility for failures.
Scott McCarthy [00:30:47]:
I like your response for sure because you definitely highlighted something that I think gets a little bit misunderstood, misconstrued, and it’s a fine line, the difference between responsibility and accountability and not necessarily everyone understands that. And I actually did a podcast episode, solo one not too long ago actually, about accountabilities and responsibilities and then the third aspect, which was authority. So this was all drawn out from a situation from a member of our free Facebook group who was being held accountable and had some responsibilities, but she had no authority to actually execute fixing the problem.
Nate Regier [00:31:34]:
Scott McCarthy [00:31:36]:
Well, if you have responsibilities and you’re being held accountable for the actions of some of your team members, but you have no authorities to fix it, this is completely out of whack. Like, you have to have whacked out.
Nate Regier [00:31:50]:
And we work with leaders all the time that are in what my friend Amy Baylog calls this purgatory of the no win, way out middle management, where you have so much responsibility put on you, but very little authority or control to actually make it happen. And yeah, we work with people in that purgatory. And it’s really interesting. We start saying, let’s back up the bus. Let’s focus on what you actually can control. And there’s only three things your feelings, your thoughts, your behaviors. You can’t control the outcome of them. You can’t control what other people do. You can only control what you do next. And so let’s focus on that. And when we stop worrying about controlling what everyone else does and start focusing on having our three switches on, it really gets down to what Wayne Dyer said, which is when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. But when you change the things you’re looking at, first you never make any progress. It has to start in here.
Scott McCarthy [00:32:55]:
Nate, that’s a fantastic way to slowly wrap this show up. I appreciate you, my friend, I appreciate your words and your wisdom. Of course. Before we do wrap up, I still got the last couple of questions for you. Don’t know if you remember these or not, but let’s see. So the first question is the question I ask all the guests here at the Peak Performance Leadership podcast. And that is according to you, Nate, what makes a great leader?
Nate Regier [00:33:26]:
A great leader is a person first. Anyone can be a leader because leadership is not a position, it is an activity. So what makes a great leader is the ability to leverage diversity towards a shared goal. Diversity is part of the universe. It’s a wonderful thing. But when you can leverage that towards a shared goal, it’s an incredible thing.
Scott McCarthy [00:33:53]:
Love it. That’s awesome. And a follow up question of the show, how can people find you, follow you, be part of your journey, grab a copy of the book. It’s all that, you know.
Nate Regier [00:34:01]:
Yeah. Compassionate Accountability How Leaders Build Connection and Get Results is firstname.lastname@example.org. From there, you can go anywhere. Free resources, opportunities to get a whole bunch of cool stuff from us, including up to a free keynote from me if you buy a bunch of books at the same time. And it launches on July 11 of 23. And so now is the time to preorder.
Scott McCarthy [00:34:27]:
Awesome. And for you to listeners always, it’s easy. Just go to leaddumboss.com 265265 and the links are there, the show notes. So thanks again for coming out and taking time. Your schedule, talking to me again, talk to the audience again. It’s great to have you back on the show.
Nate Regier [00:34:45]:
Scott, thank you so much. I really, really appreciate and admire the perspective you bring from all the different areas of your life. And thanks for having me on.