Wakeman (2017), is revolutionary, disruptive and thought-provoking. The book has been written after paying proper attention to research; cognitive psychology has been a significant foundation in the book. The book starts by rejecting the current understanding of employee management. According to the book, traditional leadership theories which advocate for engaging employees are just but outdated. From the book, the drama starts when administration gets into the pursuit of meeting employee needs. The two criticisms of traditional leadership just leave productivity to businesses while leadership becomes a function of leaders resulting in a disconnect in human resource. The book goes further to blast traditional leadership for accepting that change is a hard to do task and that engaging employees is something that has the potential to deliver results. Wakeman (2017), calls the two assertions of traditional leadership false assumptions and goes ahead to say that endless satisfaction surveys are diversionary tactics which are combined with the two premises to keep employees away from change as well as from decision-making levels that are beyond operational decisions. This is an indication that there are better ways of doing it.
The concept of accountability has been promoted in the book as a means to come up with something new and achieve happiness for the employees in the end. Accountability in the book has been touted as a replacement for employees’ happiness. Business leaders should, therefore, focus on accountability rather than employee happiness. Accountability is a means to an end while happiness is an end in itself. If accountability is pursued, there is a great assurance that employee happiness will be achieved in the end. The book takes leaders on the path of looking for emotionally inexpensive people as they are easy going and their egos do not take precedence at all. With such kinds of people, Wakeman (2017), gives leaders the assurance that soliciting for desired opinions without fear of contradiction can be achieved as well as promoting the self-awareness of the leader’s team holistically. In the end, the leader will achieve happiness.
How is accountability developed? The book agrees that being accountable is having a resilient mindset. Such kind of a mentality is not achieved instantaneously. It is through wading through shear challenges, experiences, coaching, and self-reflection, not forgetting feedback. The book claims that before such a state is reached, everybody is painfully stuck and they rely on ego. This is a sad state where one cannot multi-task, make self-reflection, or both vent or judge (Wakeman, 2017). The reason for this kind of behavior is that there are absolute egocentric tendencies where they only think of themselves. Accountability and ego cannot coexist; one has to be in and the other out.
To achieve accountability, business leaders must undertake to get hardwired for accountability. When it comes to the employees, the leader should be willing and ready to take the responsibility of coaching others into attaining high levels of mental processes. There above, I mentioned the concept of cognitive psychology; well, this is where it comes to play as admitted by Flinchbaugh et al. (2017), who said that cognitive learning is critical when it comes to reconciliation of opposing thoughts and leading by example. When coached, employees are in a position to eliminate suffering that is in most cases self-imposed as well as chose accountability which will deliver desired results. With accountability, facts are the real drivers. Leaders should start with themselves and progress to others by first being neutral on the issues at hand and focusing on facts. With facts, a leader will be in a position to give accountable feedback since it is based on facts.
On this concept, I chose to select the current president and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk as an excellent example of an accountable leader. This might be controversial or unpopular, but accountability is about facts. Musk has ensured that he does not whine about failure. He managed to build the first reusable rockets with minimal margins of success. On the concept of electric cars, the great leader has pushed the limits of imagination in the technological world by coming up with an electric car that performs just like a supercar at the cost of an ordinary car. When the company makes mistakes or gets late on orders, he becomes accountable and explains it to those who have believed in his outrageous innovations (Colvin, 2015). He has always managed to get through the woods and will be in mass production shortly. He recently launched an electric truck that works 100% on electricity. His juniors are also accountable. They have adopted the model of production where errors in manufacturing can be spotted by anyone and those who have detected the anomaly get the powers to halt the production line until the error is fixed. In the end, employees are happy with a superior product making his employees highly innovative as confirmed by Fehrenbacher (2015).
In conclusion, the theory of accountability as advanced by Wakeman (2017), is actionable. It motivates companies to move from their comfort zones and as such, throw themselves into the limelight and accept to be critiqued. This happens from the top where leaders embrace the concept and put it into action. They then allow their employees to follow suit under their guidance. In the end, Wakeman (2017), has shown that happiness can be achieved without putting the progress of the company in jeopardy.
Colvin, G. (2015). Every aspect of your business is about to change. Fortune.
Wakeman. C. (2017). No ego: How leaders can cut the cost of workplace drama, end entitlement, and drive big results. New York: St Martin’s Press.
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