Note: This is post 4 of 7 of a series exploring social accountability. If this is your first blog to read in the series, catching up is easy: Start with the Great Expectations: Why the Best Leaders Create Social Accountability entry work your way forward.

We’re making our way through a new blog series on social accountability. This week, we’ll discuss the second half in step two of creating social accountability: reaching alignment.

Alignment just means everyone in your team is on the same page, and that the expectations you’ve communicated complement and contribute to your organization’s bigger vision. While it’s a simple concept, it’s so rarely mastered. Leaders either don’t know how to create true alignment, or they’re unwilling to take the time, exercise the humility, and open the lines of communication that building alignment requires.

So how does alignment’s required investment of time, humility, and communication play out?

Through dialogue

The alignment phase is a dialogue between you––the leader––and your team. Your people should do about 80% of the talking. You will mostly listen. When you do speak, it will be to explain and negotiate.

Through servant leadership

Servant leadership is a term that is thrown around a lot today, but few truly practice it. Adhering to servant leadership means prioritizing others’ needs in visible ways. When it comes to alignment, that means that while you are charged with articulating a vision and setting expectations as a leader, you are also charged with ensuring every member of your team has what they need in order to deliver.

Through direct questions

You will know that you have clearly communicated your expectations and then earned the alignment of the team when you can look your people in the eye and ask them, “Have I given you everything that you need? Are you ready to deliver?” and they respond with something along the lines of, “Absolutely. We are taking ownership of this. Hold us accountable.”

Through observation

As work begins on the expectations that have been shared, watch and listen to your team. Is everyone onboard? The chart below compares true alignment with mere compliance.


Next up, we’ll tackle step three in building social accountability: creating a sense of control.

How do you measure alignment in your organization? What is the biggest hurdle to creating social accountability that you’re facing so far? I’d love to hear from you. Are you All-In?