An Essential Ingredient for Leadership

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, it’s more important than ever for leaders to be accountable. In this article, you’ll review what accountability is, why it’s important, and how to be accountable as a leader.

What is Accountability

Accountability is taking responsibility for one’s actions and results. It’s being honest and transparent with oneself and others. As a leader, it is taking ownership of the team’s or organization’s results and performance. At the end of the day, it means you are responsible.

Why Accountability Matters

As a leader, you are the role model of accountability for your people. Demonstrating accountability creates a path for them to follow and is the first step towards a culture of accountability.

And, being accountable is also where personal growth begins. When a person fails to take responsibility and ownership of their life, they simply cannot grow. But, when a person begins to take ownership, they begin to take control of their choices and by extension their life.

How to be Accountable

Here are a number of ways that you can be accountable and create a culture of accountability with your people:

  • Own Your Mistakes: when you make a mistake, acknowledge it, learn from it, and take steps to rectify it. This not only sets an example but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Set Clear Expectations: Ensure that your team understands their responsibilities and the expectations you have of them. Clear communication is the first step towards accountability.
  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate the behavior you want to see in your team. If you expect punctuality, be punctual. If you value open communication, practice it. If you want honesty and kindness, exemplify it.
  • Provide Feedback and Recognition: Ask for feedback from your people, respect it, and act on it. Also, accountable leaders give their team members regular feedback on their performance. This feedback is honest and constructive, and it’s designed to help team members improve and grow.
  • Pre-Week Plan: Determine your priorities, schedule them first, and take ownership for each of your life roles by pre-week planning. This is how you take ownership — and accountability — for doing what matters most in work and in life.

Examples of Leaders Being Accountable

In a famous interview after a game in which the Chicago Bulls lost, Michael Jordan said, “I missed the last shot. My fault.” He didn’t blame team members and their missed shots. He didn’t criticize the coaching calls or referees. He took ownership — he was accountable.

Like Michael Jordan, all of the greats share this common practice of taking ownership and being accountable. It’s a core virtue that allows them to grow and get better.

Serena Willliams, Elon Musk, Simone Biles, Warren Buffet, Mary Barra, Ginni Rometty, Lionel Messi, and Melinda Gates all exemplify leadership and growth through accountability.

Wrapping Up

So, choose to be accountable. Choose to be responsible. How? By pre-week planning, leading by example, providing feedback, clearly communicating expectations, owning mistakes, giving credit to others, and taking ownership of your life and your results.

“Leaders inspire accountability through their ability to accept responsibility, before they place blame.” – Courtney Lynch

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