The Care and Growth thematic offers a compelling fusion of leadership theory and practice. Furthermore, at its core, it emphasizes intent and attention as crucial leadership criteria. In practical terms, it provides leaders with a straightforward framework known as Means, Ability, and Accountability (MAA) to effectively fulfill their roles.
This article is tailored for practitioners of the Care and Growth thematic, offering insights into the MAA framework using a Venn diagram. For first-time readers, we’ll touch on some core concepts to enhance comprehension.
A Criteria for Leadership
People willingly work for leaders who care about their well-being and foster their growth. Moreover, caring involves having a genuine interest in the well-being of your people, while growth entails providing genuine opportunities for learning and development. Care and Growth represent universal criteria for leadership.
Caring and growing individuals, or empowering them, involves providing Means, Ability, and holding them Accountable. However, accountability is effective only when individuals possess the Means and Ability.
Means encompass resources, tools, systems and structures, clarity of expectations (standards), authority, the boss’s time, and information. Ability includes both the “How” and “Why” aspects of a job or task. Furthermore, accountability entails consistently recognizing and rewarding carefulness and benevolence, while censuring and disciplining carelessness and malevolence.
Mistakes that are made in Care and Growth
A critical mistake is made when people are held accountable without being given Means and Ability, known as the “hard mistake.” Conversely, not holding people accountable despite providing Means and Ability results in the “soft mistake,” which can be more detrimental for organizations, as it may lead people to believe they can avoid consequences.
Now, let’s delve into the hard and soft mistakes using a Venn diagram. Seven possibilities have been given as an example. They may reflect missing Means, Ability or Accountability at different levels of hierarchy and may be useful for diagnosing organization’s challenges.
- Means Only: Cultivates a culture of entitlement and mediocrity, where people demand more without contributing.
- Ability Only: Leads to frustration, low morale, and high employee turnover, as individuals lack the necessary resources and support.
- Accountability without Means and Ability: Creates a climate of high fear and anxiety.
- Means and Accountability without Ability: Results in significant resource wastage, exemplified by some international NGOs and government organizations.
- Means and Ability without Accountability: Encourages carelessness, erratic performance and resource wastages.
- Ability and Accountability without Means: Initial performance improvements may occur, but eventual burnout, manipulation, shortcuts, and a fix-it approach prevail.
- Means, Ability with Accountability: High performance achieved only when individuals have Means, Ability, and are held Accountable.
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