Leadership Accountability, not to sound snarky, but would you consider those words an
Oxymoron? Depends on who you ask, right? I am sure there are a lot of us who have seen
our share of Leaders who do not take responsibility for their actions and feel safe in doing so
because they are not held accountable.
Today I want to discuss those companies who do it right and what that means not only for
their bottom line but for the mental health of the staff in general.
According to one survey completed by Visual Capitalist, 72% believe leadership
accountability is an important issue for their organization. However, only 31% were happy
with the degree of it being demonstrated at work.
So, why is accountability regarding the leaders of an organization important?
PERFORMANCE! When the leader accepts responsibility for their actions because they know
they will be held accountable for them, positive or negative, then high performance is built-
in. And I see performance as quality, not necessarily quantity. When everyone is performing
at a higher quality, then companies have confident employees who know and understand
their value to the company.
The knock-on there is that you send employees home who are more confident spouses,
parents, or young adults. As an individual overall, they are secure in their place in the world
or secure enough to take their place in the world.
When a company as truly accountable leaders that are supported by key organizational
practices, then a strong leadership culture will emerge.
How can a company ensure Leadership Accountability takes place?
Customer/Stakeholder Understanding — It is difficult to deliver on expectations if your
leaders don’t understand the customers completely. That means knowing their vision, goals,
and/or what they deem as important. The same is true when speaking of stakeholders.
There’s been many a time when one team delivered a solution for another team without
actually finding out if it’s what they want or compliments how they work.
Emotional Maturity — Leaders need to be given the opportunity to learn about their
Emotional Intelligence and how to adjust their behaviors accordingly. They need to be given
the tools to learn how to handle difficult conversations, how to build trust with their team,
and how to handle setbacks and disappointments.
Defining & Communicating the Company Leadership Expectations — Again, if expectations
are set and articulated often there’s little opportunity for failure. Just because someone is
leading a team, it doesn’t necessarily mean they understand how to lead or what is
expected from them.
The Team as One Mindset — I’ve said this a lot in my career, the best team is one who
celebrates what each person brings to the party (as far as knowledge and skill is concerned)
but operates as one when it comes to delivery. If one person is successful, the team is
successful. If one person falters, they all falter. When the team operates as one they lift
each other up, keep themselves accountable, and deliver at a much higher quality.
In today’s rapidly shifting work culture, companies are being forced to think differently. My
hope is that they look at how they direct, coach, and set expectations for their leaders.
Making sure they hold themselves accountable for how they operate and how they direct