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Why a Culture of Accountability is the Key to Effective Leadership

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

Home » President Harry S. Truman » Why a Culture of Accountability is the Key to Effective Leadership

Harry S. Truman’s Legacy: Leadership Accountability in Modern Organizations

For those of you who are American history enthusiasts, you know that President Harry S. Truman had a sign on his desk that read: “The Buck Stops Here.” It meant he accepted full accountability for all the decisions of his administration. Truman’s stand exists in organizations today but, unfortunately, as the exception rather than the rule.

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The Power of Accountability: How It Shapes Successful Leaders

I read that in 2014 the Brandon Hall Group’s ‘State of Performance Management Survey’ found that a staggering 34% of global organizations said that executives do not hold leaders accountable for performance. During the same year, results showed that 39% planned to increase or significantly increase their focus next year on holding managers accountable.

Without accountability, even the most brilliant, hard-working, well-intentioned leaders fail – they fail to meet their performance goals, they fail to develop their teams, they fail to hire top talent, they fail to coach their employees, they fail to communicate clearly, they fail to optimize performance, and they fail the business overall. Effective leadership requires real accountability.

What Is Accountability?

When leaders take personal accountability, they are willing to answer for the outcomes of their choices, their behaviors, and their actions in all situations in which they are involved. Accountable leaders do not blame others when things go pear-shaped. Rather, they make things right – they are fixers.

Accountable leaders build an accurate understanding of their organization – where it excels and where it has opportunities. Accountable leaders step up to champion opportunities to succeed. Accountable leaders question the decisions and processes that shape your organization. They ask questions and they find answers – the best answers.

Accountability goes beyond individual actions and decisions. Accountable leaders assume ownership for the performance of their teams – just like Truman assumed accountability for the performance of his administration.

From Martyr to Leader: Embracing Accountability in Your Leadership Journey

An accountable leader takes responsibility. Taking responsibility can be frightening, especially for new leaders. But it beats the alternative which is having it forced upon you. Until you take responsibility, you are nothing more than a martyr. And a martyr is the opposite of a leader.

Accountability Makes a Business Difference

Developing accountability is a challenge for most leaders – exactly why more organizations told us that they plan to invest more resources in helping to build their leaders accountable. Accountability builds trust within teams, creates respect between leaders and employees, and promotes a sense of fairness that is essential to an engaged workforce.

Accountability is about the near wins, not the wins. Accountability is in the striving and the reaching, the journey, the promise of getting there, and the perpetual self-refinement. Accountability is about a leader’s overall commitment to excellence – elevating her game, and keeping herself improving and fired up. That is the mark of a true leader. Accountability is exactly why leadership is so tough and exactly why there are so few real leaders.

Are you accountable? How have you gone about developing yourself to be more accountable? What has worked and what hasn’t as you embarked on transforming your leadership culture to be accountable (from anything else)?

If you like what your reading and this resonates with you, as your ‘Accountability Coach‘ I’ll keep you on track, so you keep those promises and commitments made to others and yourself.

If we do this right, you’ll increase your sales, service your clients better, make more money and work fewer hours. Now you can spend it with those that are most important and not doing work.

If you need help with your business, I work with entrepreneurial business owners, executives and their teams to ensure full accountability so they can meet obligations, promises and commitments made to others and themselves.

My name is Darren Finkelstein, Accountability Coach, Business Advisor and Presenter.

For more information send an email to questions@tickthoseboxes.com.au or Check out my Accountability Coaching packages.