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Accountability in leadership: What makes a great leader accountable?

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

Home » Accountability » Accountability in leadership: What makes a great leader accountable?

Accountability is a crucial trait that must be taught to every organization’s employees. A leader is responsible for generating significant revenues and grooming his team and future leaders for the workplace. Leadership is guiding, inspiring, and motivating others towards a common goal. Great leaders understand the importance of accountability and lead by example. They are accountable for their actions and decisions and hold their team members responsible. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of accountability in leadership and what makes a great leader accountable. Accountability in administration refers to the responsibility of leaders to answer for their actions and decisions. It is critical to effective leadership because it builds trust, fosters transparency, and ensures everyone works towards the same goals. A great leader understands the importance of accountability and ensures accountability for their actions and decisions.  

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Let's look into some characteristics that make a great leader accountable:

1. Transparency

A great leader is transparent and open about their actions and decisions. They share their thought processes and decision-making criteria with their team members to build trust and foster collaboration. When transparent, leaders encourage their team members to be honest and open. 

2. Responsibility

A great leader takes responsibility for their actions and decisions. They understand that they are not infallible and that mistakes can happen. They take responsibility for errors and work with their team members to correct the problem. 

3. Communication

A great leader communicates clearly and effectively with their team members. They share their expectations and goals, listen to feedback, and provide regular updates on progress. Effective communication is essential for building trust and ensuring everyone works towards the same goals.

4. Empowerment

A great leader empowers their team members to take ownership of their work. They provide support and guidance but allow their team members to make decisions and take responsibility for their actions. When team members feel empowered, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and work harder to achieve their goals. 

5. Accountability

Great leaders hold themselves and their team members accountable for their actions and decisions. They set clear expectations and consequences for poor performance and recognize and reward good performance. When leaders hold themselves and their team members accountable, it fosters a culture of responsibility and ownership.

6. Consistency

A great leader is consistent in their actions and decisions. They refrain from wavering or changing their mind frequently, which can cause confusion and uncertainty among team members. When leaders are consistent, they build trust and show reliability. 

7. Integrity

A great leader has integrity and operates with honesty and ethics. They do not compromise their values or morals for personal gain or to please others. When leaders have integrity, they build trust and respect among their team members. 

8. Vision

A great leader has a clear vision and communicates it effectively to their team members. They inspire and motivate their team members to work towards a common goal and provide guidance and support to achieve the vision. 

9. Learning from failures

A great leader recognizes that failures are part of the journey to success. They embrace failures as learning opportunities and take responsibility for them. Instead of blaming others, they reflect on the situation, identify lessons learned, and make necessary adjustments to prevent similar failures in the future.  

10. Building a supportive environment

A great leader creates a supportive environment where team members feel comfortable taking risks, asking for help, and admitting mistakes. They foster a culture where individuals are encouraged to learn from failures, seek solutions collaboratively, and support one another. This environment creates a sense of psychological safety that promotes accountability.  

11. Recognizing and rewarding accountability

A great leader acknowledges and rewards accountability within the team. They publicly recognize individuals who consistently demonstrate accountability, take ownership, and deliver outstanding results. By providing recognition and rewards, they reinforce the importance of accountability and motivate others to follow suit. 

12. Building Trust through Transparency

A great leader establishes trust by being transparent in their actions and decisions. They share information openly, provide context for their choices, and involve team members in the decision-making process when appropriate. Transparent leaders are seen as trustworthy and inspire others to be more accountable.  


A leader can bring change to the organization if he is accountable, supportive, respectful and rewarding. For example, suppose the leader can spend time brainstorming, understand his team members, set goals with the members and understand the challenges, recognize the good work, give feedback timely and encourage them to be accountable and doesn’t believe in punishing or blaming others and takes ownership of team’s failure as his own. In that case, his team will treat him as a role model, respect, and learn from him. That’s how he will be able to set the culture of accountability in the workplace.