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What Is Accountability In Leadership?

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

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Accountability in leadership

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A business with no accountability will not be able to cope with taking risks and failing. It can intimidate and overwhelm your employees to work hard and take on responsibilities for their and the company’s success.

To change an environment of fear and anxiety, the leaders need to set an example. Changing this can lead to an environment where all levels can flourish and work as a team and view failure as a stepping stone.

Accountability is a necessary characteristic for any organization. All the members of an organization expect accountability from their leaders. We will look into why accountability is such a desirable trait in organizations. 

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Why Is Accountability Necessary?

1. Accountability Builds Trust

Trust is the basis of accountability and relationships. Being accountable means that one is willing to commit and take responsibility. 

When you sign a contract, you have taken the responsibility to take the job seriously and do your best. When there is an element of accountability in your trust, you’re admitting that you will own up to your mistakes and amend the broken trust.

By taking accountability, you are proving that you’re serious about your commitments.

2. Accountability Improves Performance

Being accountable means that you spend time on work rather than getting distracted or being unproductive. Some studies display the fact that people tend to engage in ineffective behavior.

If there is a lack of accountability, the chances are that you won’t be able to fix mistakes before they have irreparable damage. A culture of accountability results in assigning the right jobs to the right people and shows that you’re serious about work.

3. Accountability Promotes Ownership

When a leader promotes accountability, it forces the employees to value the work they put up. Giving the team positive feedback gives them the chance to see that they impact the company and are important people with clear roles.

When employees feel valued, their performance and satisfaction increase, they also have a sense of ownership in what they do.

4. Accountability Inspires Confidence

When there is effective accountability, it increases the team’s confidence and gets the support they need to perform efficiently.

Providing proper support includes giving constructive feedback, improving on your members’ suggestions and giving them the freedom to decide. It also involves  challenging them to think critically and creatively as a team.

When the employees feel heard and valued, they do better work.

Due to these reasons, it is important to foster an environment of accountability from the beginning. The goal is to create an environment of support, not look for flaws.

It also means having a feedback loop between you and your team, improving solutions, rewarding desired behavior, and discouraging undesired behavior. A leader should be the most accountable person in the company.

What Does Accountability Look Like?

Accountability means that you as a leader are responsible for all the outcomes of your team – good and bad. There is no blaming involved despite having regrets. If there is no responsibility taken, you become a victim and not a leader. Leaders make decisions and influence results.

Failure has to be seen as a learning opportunity and not a chance to blame. Blaming your employees or colleagues for a failed project will not encourage them to take on new opportunities fearlessly.

The importance of failure in a business organization is well-known. One way to make failure a learning process is to adopt the continuous improvement process as an accepted model.

This means that the team continuously improves products, services, and internal processes to attain innovation. If this process is followed, your colleagues will have an example of actions to be taken during times of success and failure without blaming each other.

You can have effective accountability by having clear goals and expectations, leading by example and having realistic milestones. However, failure is not something a business can escape.

Therefore, it is important to analyze every failure critically without feelings of frustration and anger. Thinking about what can lead to a better outcome, factors that you can control, and the lesson from this venture is also crucial.

Final Words

When you ask your employees to work towards certain outcomes rather than tasks, you can have a sense of ownership of their work. You taking ownership can encourage others to do the same. Leadership accountability is fostering others to take ownership with confidence.

In creating an environment of accountable leaders and employees taking ownership of their work, you will be well on your way to creating a culture of accountability.

Some companies do not have accountability as the employees feel like they’re under constant supervision. However, when there is effective leadership accountability, the employees will be motivated to work harder.