It is Not Enough to Lead, Be Accountable
In my keynote talks as a speaker on leadership and accountability, I have found that while nearly everyone wants to lead, relatively few understand that to lead is to also be accountable.
Accountability – or the lack of it – has become a major problem in organizations large and small. In a comprehensive study recently done by the Partners in Leadership consulting organization on “accountability,” it was found that 85 percent of professionals were not clear on what accountability meant, and a whopping 93 percent were “unable to align their work or take accountability for desired results.” From an employee standpoint, 84 percent blamed their leaders’ lack of accountability and responsibility for organizational failures.
Are You Determined to be Accountable?
In my keynotes on leadership and accountability, I often ask if those in the audience who “covet” being leaders are also determined to stand up and say, “I am responsible. I am where the buck stops.”
Business writer Paloma Cantero-Gomez in Forbes magazine (June 2019) lists five accountability traits that every leader must possess: leaders must take full responsibility for their decisions; leaders must take responsibility for communication (so there are no misunderstandings); leaders must think and say “we” instead of “I”; leaders must run effective meetings; and finally, leaders must solicit feedback.
While each one of those points is important, where they lead is to employees feeling valued by the leader. Do you have the daily grit to value and to be accountable to every employee on your team?
In 2016, the American Psychological Association did a comprehensive “Work and Well-Being Survey.” The results of that study are not just important but vital to successful organizations. Among many other aspects, the survey found:
“More than 9 in 10 workers (who are supported by accountable leaders) said they feel motivated to do their best (91% vs. 38% of those without leadership support) … and have a positive relationship with supervisors (91% vs. 54%) and coworkers (93% vs. 72%).”
Not surprising, more than 85 percent of employees who feel their leaders are accountable recommend their companies as a great place to work.
It was ballplayer Bob “Buck” Rodgers who said:
“You can’t talk about leadership without talking about responsibility and accountability…you can’t separate the two. A leader must delegate responsibility and provide the freedom to make decisions, and then be held accountable for the results.”
The leader, in being accountable, must also be humble. Leadership is not about going it alone, it lies in being determined to go forward together. It cannot happen in a vacuum. While the leader must often make tough decisions, there is nothing that prevents that leader from listening to others, respecting everyone, and then being responsible enough to say, “Your solution may be better than mine, and I respect that.”
In workplaces where there is greater accountability there is less turnover, more cooperation and more loyalty. Accountability is a shared vision.
To book Scott Burrows, Motivational Leadership and Accountability Speaker for your next meeting, contact him through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169