Tag Archives: accountability

Leadership Accountability

Carrot on a stick

Image by Ben Sutherland via Flickr

Generating accountability for leaders can be a challenge. Often we confuse reminders with follow-through. We get so caught up in our own actions that it becomes difficult to see that our team is struggling to generate action amongst themselves. This could be because we believe that once we have reminded someone to do something that their own intrinsic motivation will kick in and take over. This is often not the case though. It is very hard for people to do things that they do not want to do. Look at the obesity epidemic in America. Everyone knows that the secret to slimming down is to eat less and exercise more. How many people follow through on these simple steps? Leaders can start to generate accountability through taking action with their teams. Mark Sanborn discusses this accountability dilemma further below.

Helping people be accountable is more than identifying what they need to do; it is about clarifying what needs to be accomplished.

Clear outcomes can often be achieved several different ways. We tend to be too rigid about the means and completely miss the end. For instance, in the example above, the objective wasn’t running, it was fitness.

Structure your efforts around the end goal, and involve the person you’re working with in determining the “how.” Giving them an active role in creating the process will engage them and create a greater sense of ownership.

…More at Leadership Accountability: Holding or Helping? | Sanborn and

Everyone has goals and new years resolutions this time of year. Goals are a healthy and natural way of accomplishing tasks and making meaningful progress in our lives. Goals and resolutions often fail however because we do not associate a goal with a particular benefit. Leaders can help their teams link benefits with their work goals. It is very important for the human mind to have some driving purpose and a goal without a benefit can be a challenging task. For example, lets say you give your team a project to retool the user interface of the dashboard for your member portal and do not give them a reason or benefit to doing so. Without the why behind the project, it is difficult for your team to see the purpose of the project. Telling them that by retooling the UI you can enhance the clicks on extras that will improve the bottom line by 4% and boost the year end bonuses greatly enhances the motivation behind the task. Leaders need to be able to generate accountability which can be a major challenge.


The Accountable Leader

Business Meeting

Image by thetaxhaven via Flickr

The accountable leader is someone who possesses the wherewithal to identify problems in the workplace. An accountable leader has rapport with their team and the knowledge of the major events happening inside and outside of the workplace that can affect team performance. By holding themselves accountable to a rigid standard, a leader will demonstrate to their employees what is expected of them. Chris Young presents us with five essential tools that the accountable leader has in their toolbox. 

The fastest way to insure an inefficient workplace with low morale is to fail to hold poor performing employees accountable for their poor performance, thereby frustrating effective employees, who will feel themselves bearing the brunt of others' poor work. Leadership through accountability means taking responsibility for creating a company culture where no one feels put upon by the mistakes of others, and those who perform well know they can expect to reap the rewards of their hard work.

…More at Leadership Through Accountability – The 5 Essentials

We know that there are at least five essential skills that leaders can develop to help generate accountability in their employees. Encouraging openness and honesty goes a long way in building a trusting relationship with fellow employees. Developing an outline that clearly defines the scope and expectations is crucial to engaging employees for maximum benefit. There are more ways for the accountable leader to make their mark? What strategies have helped you become the accountable leader?


Make Yourself Accountable

Army Photography Contest - 2007 - FMWRC - Arts and Crafts - Canal Path #2

Image by familymwr via Flickr

An ability to make yourself accountable for your work is a great way to get noticed by leadership. Leaders want employees who are able to determine what actions are necessary and to assess the impacts on business. Taking accountability for yourself is a sure-fire way of standing out from the crowd. This will help your prospects for growth within the company and will mark you as a future leader who knows responsibility. Ron Ashkenas writes about his experience with taking accountability measures in the workplace.

The reality is that the most effective organizations engage in continual (and sometimes brutally candid) dialogue — across levels, functions, and with customers and suppliers. For organizations to be successful, dozens, hundreds, and thousands of people have to be engaged and aligned around common goals and directions. That doesn't mean that everyone needs to move in lockstep, but it does mean that everyone needs to take accountability, to see themselves as part of the solution on the field rather than a distant observer in the stands.

So that's where accountability comes in. If you want to be part of a successful organization, you need to be part of the dialogue — to share your views, influence others, and make a difference. If you don't feel that you can take the initiative to do that, then either think about what gets in your way or what you can do differently. If conditions don't allow you to speak up and exert your influence, go somewhere else. But waiting for senior leaders or the CEO to make things better is probably not going to be a very effective strategy. It makes more sense to blame the last snowstorm.

…More at Take Accountability for Your Own Success – HBR Blog Network

It makes sense to have a success strategy that starts with accountability to help you grow in your career. Everyone can (and will) reason away failure but if you hold yourself accountable for your work then chances are you will be noticed! An increasingly dynamic economic market makes it ever more difficult to compete as constraints change and markets shift but by being flexible and accountable then you set yourself up for success no matter what the difficulties and pitfalls that lie ahead. Make yourself accountable to exhibit your value and get noticed by leadership today!


Accountability in the Workplace



Image by Neal. via Flickr

Accountability in the workplace is an oft overlooked aspect to a company's success. From the outside, a company might appear to be performing very well while internally the culture is a mess. Often companies find themselves in the mindset of 'failure is not an option' which puts employees in a position of not wanting to accept the responsibility of being held accountable. Questions such as “What if….?” and “Will I….?” start to allow doubt to creep into their mind. By allowing an employee to see failure as a viable option, a great leader will free their employees to be more successful. Deborah Mills-Scofield writes about how to bring back accountability: 

So, how do we help our cultures, ourselves, our people overcome the fear of failure and commit in a uncertain world? I have a few suggestions based on my experience in both accountable, and unaccountable, company cultures:

  • Communicate100. Communicate why the request is important to the organization, to both of you, and how it's fulfillment will make a difference. What may seem trivial to us may be profound to someone else. To commit, we need to believe in something bigger than just ourselves or the organization, such as the mission and purpose of the organization. That is how we start changing behavior and making new habits.
  • Make sure that you're present to support the request and remove or mitigate obstacles. Meet regularly to identify potential challenges and opportunities before they become a major problem.
  • Re-prioritize responsibilities and tasks to allow the person or team to complete the request. Don't just add on. Not everything is urgent and important. Seriously, show your commitment to the request you've made. If it's not worth re-prioritizing, then it isn't worth asking.
  • Create ways to eliminate or minimize the stigma of failure. Focus on what's been learned and how that applies, watch how you react to and treat the person, how you discuss it with others affected by the result and how you let it impact that person's future success in the organization. Even if you can't change the organization's performance management process, your own personal demeanor and handling has an enormous impact

….More at Let's Bring Back Accountability – Blogs – Harvard Business Review

Accountability is difficult to achieve because there is no clear path to success but following these guiding principles is a great way to get started on improving company culture. Creating an environment where accountability is valued should be of paramount importance to any leader.