vPsychology for Business

We are dedicated to bringing out the best in you and your employees

Volume 3, Number 13                                                                                                      June 28, 2002



Psychology for Business is a free e-mail newsletter written by Dr. Lynda Dahlke Dr. John Weaver, and Dr. Paul Glass,  business psychologists and independent consultants. It is published bi-weekly. You’ve received this newsletter because you’ve subscribed to it or it was forwarded to you by a friend or colleague. To subscribe sign up at our website,
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By Dr. Lynda Dahlke, Business Psychologist and Coach


In Parts I and II of Triple “A” Leadership, two “touchstones” were discussed that I believe are important to effectively lead.  The first was AWARENESS; the second was ALIGNMENT.  This issue of the Psychology for Business newsletter is the last of the series and will discuss ACCOUNTABILITY

Let’s go back to the sea one last time to gather another example of leadership touchstones using a maritime analogy.  Once again you are the captain of a sailing vessel (leader of an organization) embarking on an important voyage.   A useful principle to help assure success is the concept of accountability

If you, as the captain, expect certain tasks to be accomplished by members of the crew (your employees), and they fail to do so, disaster can occur.  If it is someone’s job to bring fresh water or desalination equipment along and they forget, or only bring half empty containers, the ship won’t reach its destination; the voyage will be a failure.  If it is someone’s job to inspect the sails to assure that they are in good repair and they choose to neglect this task, again the ship could be at risk. 

Is it the captain’s job to always check everything to assure a successful voyage?  Well, if the ship is very small with no crew, the answer is “yes”.  However, if the ship is of any size, the captain needs to develop an effective process of delegation. This leads directly to the issue of trust.   


For a captain to be effective, they must be able to delegate some of the tasks required for voyage preparation.  For a captain to feel comfortable delegating important tasks, they must trust the crewmember that they are enlisting to accomplish the task.  If the task is accomplished in a timely and complete manner, trust is enhanced and more responsibility is given.  The captain can effectively mentor future captains by delegating increasingly important, complex responsibilities, enhancing the trust relationship and the commitment level of the crewmember.  The inability to ever trust anyone dooms effective leadership.  A weak captain resists delegation, fearing the mentee will outshine the mentor.  This selfish mentality will undermine both the captain and the ship. 

If, however, the crewmember fails to accomplish the task or completes it in a “half-mast” manner, trust is frayed or betrayed, leading to a decreased level of responsibility entrusted by the captain.  If poor performance with a delegated responsibility happens often enough, the captain needs to acknowledge that the crew member cannot be trusted with responsibility and in order for the voyage to be successful and in the best interest of the rest of the crew, that person needs to leave the crew and their delegated responsibilities need to be met in another manner.

It is an important part of being an effective captain that after a crewmember is given adequate training, explanations and opportunities to perform and they still fail, the courage to cut the crewmember loose is imperative.  As a leader, you are sending important messages to others if you fail to hold your reports accountable for their performance.  By keeping non-performers around you are giving important messages to others regarding your tolerance of poor performance and that retained employment is based on things other than performance. 


It is also important to note that by holding employees accountable you can enhance their belief in themselves and their capabilities.  You can encourage continuous improvement in an employee’s performance by collaboratively setting measurable goals for their performance, holding them accountable for goal achievement in a specified time period and rewarding them for successful completion of the goals.  If they fail to achieve a desired goal, revisit it with them in a collaborative, non-judgmental manner to assess why the goal was not met.  Many times it is not due to lack of effort; it could be due to a lack of adequate resources; a lack of accessing adequate resources; a lack of training; a lack of clarity; et cetera. The failure is not in missing achievement of the desired goal.  It could be a failure, however, to not clearly identify why the goal was missed. 

If you notice a consistent lack of effort at goal achievement, it may be due to a misalignment between job responsibilities and the individual’s interests, skills or abilities or some other motivational deficit.   This situation, as stated earlier, may warrant letting the employee go.  Reasonable developmental enhancements (i.e. training, coaching, therapy, et cetera) can work in some cases, however, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” and a wise leader needs to know the difference. 


How does the concept of accountability apply to the captain of the ship? 

Ultimately the captain is responsible for all activities related to completing a successful voyage.  The captain is accountable to the crew (employees), the ship’s owner (stockholders) and, most importantly, to themselves.  On all but the smallest of ships, this is impossible without appropriate delegation of duties.  Therefore it is incumbent upon the captain to clear obstacles that may prevent successful performance of delegated duties.  If the captain has awareness of the state of his/her ship and crew and has created a culture valuing alignment of crewmembers and their activities, then they will have knowledge of how they can enable the crew to be successful. 


As stated above, it is most important that the captains be accountable to themselves.  In this series of three articles on “TRIPLE “A” LEADERSHIP” the case has been made for effective leaders to develop personal “touchstones” to guide their performance.  When all is said and done, a leader must be accountable to themselves for their own performance.  There are many paths to success as a leader.  What guides you may be unique to your own circumstance and history.  Are you going to leave your voyage up to chance?  You may be successful.  However, you may miss out on the chance to maximize your potential and lead your organization to currently unimagined success.  The difference may rest on basing your leadership activities on principles that reflect the sum of your conscious and unconscious knowledge; your “touchstones” of leadership.  I have suggested three that have proven to be important in my work with leaders. 




I challenge you to have the courage and to take the time to determine what you know your organization needs to thrive.  


About the Author

Lynda Dahlke, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and business consultant with over 20 years of practical experience working with individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds and levels of responsibility. She excels at delivering concise, actionable guidance and recommendations. Lynda specializes in pre-employment assessment, professional coaching, conflict management, assisting organizations to work with difficult individuals and personalities and organizational diagnostics/consulting.

Based in Waukesha, WI, Dr. Lynda Dahlke is available for consultation or coaching by phone, e-mail or in person. She may be reached at (262) 789-2728 (office), by e-mail at

Lynda Dahlke, Ph.D.
Psychology for Business
200 South Executive Drive, #101
Brookfield, WI 53005-4216

Did you know that executive coaching is not geographically limited?  Coaching by telephone is effective.  It is also an efficient use of time and resources.  You never need to leave your office to travel, nor do you need to pay travel expenses for your coach. We offer coaching either onsite or by telephone. To find out if coaching is right for you, contact us to schedule a FREE 1/2 hour consultation.  Or request a price sheet to determine the best value for your organization.  Call us at: (262) 789-2728 or email us at mailto:ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com.


Dr. John Weaver
of Psychology for Business and Jeff Percival of Ben HR will be presenting a seminar  titled

The Vitamin C’s for Healthy and Effective Leaders

on Wednesday morning, August 14th from 8:00AM to 11:00AM. It will be held at :

P&H Training Center
2717 South 163rd Street
New Berlin, Wisconsin

More details will follow but mark your calendar now.  If you would like to receive full information by email, please send an email to mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbuinsess.com?subject=LEADERS.Please include your name, email and a daytime telephone number in the body of the message. We will be happy to send you all the information you need to sign up!

An extra for our readers: Receive your FREE copy of 9 Ways to Motivate Your Workforce by clicking on the title or visiting http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/motivate.htm. This paper was prepared for a recent talk by Dr. John Weaver (and co-presented by Jeff Percival) for the Workforce Development Center. If you are interested in having Dr. Weaver speak for your organization, please contact him at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com.


Archives:  All of our previous newsletters are archived at http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/eNewsletter.htm.  Check out the series on The Vitamin C’s of an Emotionally Healthy Workplace, the series on Dealing with Difficult Employees, links to our Published Articles and our newest series, Triple "A" Leadership.


Dr. John Weaver
has a new article, The "Failures" of Perfect Leaders,  published in the electronic version of Executive Update MagazineMany  leaders probably recognize a perfectionism streak within themselves, but what they may miss is that organizational success could depend on their ability to simply be "excellent," not perfect. You can read it online: http://www.gwsae.org/executiveupdate/2002/June/ElectronicIssue/leadership.htm.


To order your copy of the book, MANAGING DIFFICULT PERSONALITIES IN THE WORKPLACE: A Manager’s Practical Guide, by Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass, send your name, address, number of copies desired and a check made out to Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass for $12 per book (plus $2 shipping per book).  Or order 10 or more copies for $10 per book and $6.95 for shipping (up to 50 copies).  No fluff, this book gets right to the point. Send orders to:

Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188   

Email: mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com

To order the booklet: 41 WAYS TO IMPROVE THE EMOTIONAL HEALTH OF YOUR WORKPLACE, by Dr. John Weaver send a check for $6 and a self-addressed, double stamped business size envelope to:

Dr. John Weaver
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188

If you would like to order multiple copies, send an email to mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com to request a price sheet.  Order in quantity and save.


To subscribe, visit our website at http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/.


If you would like to learn more about Dr. Lynda Dahlke (mailto:ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com),  Dr. John Weaver (mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com),  and Dr. Paul Glass   (mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com) please visit us at our website: http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/.


© Copyright 2002. All rights reserved. Lynda Dahlke. Distribution rights: The above material is copyrighted, but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. If you would like to reprint part of this newsletter please contact me at mailto:ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com to make arrangements.

Sharing this newsletter with colleagues and friends, under these conditions, is encouraged.


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Subscriber Corner.
 In each newsletter, we will highlight some of our subscribers at the end of each issue. It is an opportunity for you to learn more about other organizations who are part of the Psychology for Business family. It is also a chance for you to highlight your business efforts. To have your organization listed, please send a brief (4 to 7 lines) description that will tell readers about who you are, what you do, and how to get in contact with you. This service is offered to our readers free of charge (although we hope you will share the newsletter with lots of your potential customers and that you will encourage them to sign up for Psychology for Business!) on a first come, first served basis.  Send your information to mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com. All of our readers are invited to be listed in Subscriber Corner. Listing does not imply that we endorse any specific business.

Today’s Subscriber Corner: Jeff Percival, BenHR (414) 271-7333, mailto:jpercival@benhr.com
BenHR, Inc. is dedicated to being “your HR supply room”.  While our primary focus is providing management information through the assessment process, we have selected the best products, tools, and consultants to meet our clients needs.
Dr. John Weaver publishes another newsletter, co-authored by Darlene Weaver, THE CENTERED PENDULUMIt is our firm belief that lifelong patterns of “being” (personality, attitudes, emotions) and “doing” (lifestyle, adaptability, coping skills) interact with our genes and environment to create conditions of a healthy or a diseased brain.  If you would like to read previous issues of the Centered Pendulum newsletter or to subscribe, please visit the archives at http://www.centeredpendulum.org/newsletters.htm.