Accountability is essential in any area of life. It shows you have integrity and lets you set an example for friends and family by indicating how they are expected to behave.
Besides, in your personal life, taking responsibility is also essential if you’re a leader. Why is accountability important in leadership? This article will provide an answer.
- What Is Accountability in Leadership?
- What Makes Accountability Essential?
- What Does Accountable Leadership Involve?
- Accountability Matters Most
What Is Accountability in Leadership?
Accountability in leadership means that leaders are held accountable for something or someone. There are various metrics of accountability, such as business performance. Other measurements can also include the organization’s culture (stated mission, values, vision, and purpose) and the workforce.
To be an accountable leader, be devoted to your employees and other parts of your business. Taking accountability for outcomes in this role builds trust among team members.
It’s like the sign on President Harry S. Truman’s desk said: “The buck stops here.” Everyone is on the same page when you communicate clear objectives, goals, and key performance indicators. Take responsibility when encountering issues and acknowledge the staff’s effort.
An accountable leader fosters accountability across the board by forming teams that can think critically about business needs and improve their contributions.
What Makes Accountability Essential?
When trying to modify your business strategy, one of the first questions you may ask is, why is accountability important in leadership? Here are the main reasons.
Accountability Spreads Throughout Your Organization
An accountable leader sets the standards for the company. What they demonstrate with actions and words plays a pivotal role in workplace behavior. Therefore, a leader can build a stronger culture by being accountable.
Being accountable contributes to a thriving organizational culture that paves the way for success. The team gets a better understanding of their expectations and works harder to meet them when they see you being accountable as their leader.
Another factor that makes accountability paramount is that it streamlines communication. Effective cooperation and internal discourse can be dramatically improved under strong leadership. The rest of the team will follow suit if you’re accountable for your conversation tactics and style. Subordinates are more likely to adopt these traits, believing your attributes are ideal in the industry and organization.
Enhance company communication by ensuring the team understands expectations and plans. If you’re an accountable leader, you’ll carefully define your business projects for your staff while outlining their deadlines and goals.
The best way to communicate expectations is to use timely meetings. The assemblies should have a clear purpose, allowing for open conversation between you and your team. Follow up these gatherings with emails summarizing deadlines, assignments, and other vital points. This leaves minimal room for vague details or misunderstandings. It also eliminates the need to micromanage employees.
In the event of a misunderstanding, zero in on your role in the issue as an accountable leader. Rather than point fingers, work with the team to avoid similar problems from causing future setbacks.
Taking responsibility for miscommunications encourages staff to reach out whenever they need help. An accountable leader doesn’t blame others for their mistakes. This makes their team more comfortable expressing their concerns. Unfair shaming or blaming can only bring about dissatisfied employees, low morale, high turnover, and poor transparency.
Accountable leadership minimizes distracting and unproductive activities by making the staff feel appreciated and valued. By contrast, a leader who does not take responsibility and own up to their mistakes demotivates employees, which is why they may lower their performance standards in response.
Minimal approaches to the workforce can dramatically improve an accountable leader’s relationship with employees. For instance, stop saying “I” and switch to “we” when discussing company achievements and taking credit. Taking an individualist approach to success discourages staff from enhancing their performance and makes them feel unimportant. Conversely, using the pronoun form “we” can increase the sense of belonging and contribution.
Accountability allows a team to take responsibility for its actions and collaborate toward common goals. This raises employee commitment and productivity, allowing them to be more efficient when achieving organizational objectives.
Minimizes Costly Mistakes
Although most effects of accountability are indirect, the advantages are tremendous. This applies to another benefit of being an accountable leader – minimizing costly mistakes.
An accountable leader can own up to mistakes to quickly fix issues and keep going. By contrast, denying errors can prevent you from finding a workaround in time.
Accountability allows you to discuss your oversights and errors with others. This enables you to find better solutions by conferring with the entire team, leading to higher innovation, diversification, and creativity.
What Does Accountable Leadership Involve?
Now that you know why accountability is vital in leadership, let’s see what a leader can do to improve their accountability.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
You might be the most capable business leader in the world. You diligently develop plans to reduce the chances of mishaps. However, even the most comprehensive strategies are prone to roadblocks. Most of them are caused by external factors, such as market changes and compliance requirements.
Many leaders try to push through the obstacles without adjusting their business, but don’t fall into this trap. Instead, ask the team for help.
Don’t let pride get in the way of sound company leadership and reaching out to employees. Ask for assistance if you encounter a problem to prevent the issue from escalating.
This way, the organization’s goals, and vision are placed above your own needs and pride. Your accountability shows you’re committed to the team and its objectives, building trust and improving communication.
Establish Clear Targets
Vague targets do no good to an organization. They create frustration and confusion, which can hinder a team’s performance and limit their ability to meet customer expectations. Leadership accountability is impossible if employees don’t know what the leader is accountable for. Hence the need to establish clear, meaningful, and measurable goals harmonized with the company’s culture and vision.
The SMART method can be used to revise current goals and develop new ones so the leader can be accountable for them. It requires assessing objectives according to the following criteria.
- Specificity – Effective goals are specific. To determine if objectives are clear, know what needs to be accomplished, who’s in charge of the tasks, and the necessary steps to achieve the goals.
- Measurability – Ensuring goals are measurable (quantifiable) allows progress to be tracked more easily and makes it clear when the project is complete.
- Achievability – It’s essential to determine whether the goals are realistic. Encouraging a leader or team to work toward something unattainable puts everyone under tremendous pressure.
- Relevance – Are the goals being set relevant? Does the company want to break into a new market or improve customer loyalty? Working toward irrelevant goals makes accountability obsolete.
- Time – Goals need to be time-bound. An accountable leader tells the team when to start implementing the projects and creates realistic due dates. It lets everyone stay on the same page during designated time frames.
Zero in on the Future
When it’s time to take accountable leadership to a new level, answer the following questions.
- Where is the company going?
- How will the organization get there?
- What are the concrete steps needed to reach that destination?
- How can obstacles along the way be avoided? If that’s impossible, how will setbacks be addressed?
- Who is accountable for success and failures? (Spoiler alert: the accountable leader)
Answering these questions clarifies how a team can accomplish goals and complete various projects to meet future needs. Even if the vision is challenging, it can be made possible by being a more accountable leader.
Break larger actions into bite-sized chunks to make them easier to manage. Arrange them chronologically while assigning checkpoints and deliverables. Don’t forget to regularly review the team’s performance and provide opportunities to celebrate milestones.
Provide Constructive and Honest Feedback
Accountable leadership enables others on the team to accept their own accountability when making a wrong move. The only way to do so is to offer constructive and honest feedback. It tells employees how they’re performing, which indicates the weaknesses they need to address to achieve better results.
Ensure the feedback is timely. Waiting for official performance reviews can be a mistake, especially if the team has to meet strict deadlines. Instead, provide insights whenever there’s enough data to help employees grow, change strategies, or adopt new tactics. This empowers staff and enables them to be accountable, just like you.
Accountability Matters Most
A successful leader can answer why accountability is vital in leadership. An accountable leader can provide innumerable benefits for an enterprise, such as greater engagement, productivity, and alignment with the company’s core values.
Over time, accountability helps reduce costs by learning from mistakes so as not to repeat them and meeting client expectations to enhance customer and employee loyalty.
Just be sure to offer timely feedback, communicate the company’s goals clearly, and follow other effective practices to optimize the company’s culture. Most of all, be an accountable leader.