You’ve probably heard of an “accountability buddy,” a friend who helps keep you on track towards your goals.
I’m all for friends, and I’m all for helping each other work towards our goals. But this role, “accountability buddy” is a role without a manual.
How do you do a good job at this? Is it obvious? It’s not.
What about “accountability” in the workplace, what does that mean? It has the ring of negative consequence, also known as punishment.
In the public sphere, “accountability” has a cleaner meaning and sense to it. In this realm, “accountability” seems appropriate and suits the context.
But, what about your personal goals, and your commitments to yourself to change your habits?
You don’t need a lot of punishment, threats, or guilt (for letting your “accountability-buddy” friend down.)
You’d be better off with a “moral support buddy.” Which would also be insufficient but more effective.
What you could use instead is a “goal buddy,” which might be 5 parts moral support buddy, and 1 part accountability buddy (which is probably the minimum ratio of + to – support that’s effective).
What else would an effective goal buddy do?
That is the realm of great teachers, coaches, managers, and teammates.
What makes a great teacher great? So much more than “accountability.”
What makes a great teammate? That’s what a goal buddy should aim to do.
Here’s a brief “How To” if you’re interested in being a goal buddy.
First, rely on what you already know of great teammates, however many things that might be. Rely on your own wisdom and strengths.
Next, add a few shakes and pinches of the following:
- Cheer, encourage, and focus on hope and inspiration
- Empathize with struggles
- Ask exploratory questions
- Give advice without expecting it to be listened to or followed
- Be liberal with high fives and hugs
- Speak frankly about how you see things (without expecting it to change anything)
- Help your buddy stretch little by little toward their goals