"Everyone has a boss …," from the President of the United States, to the assembly line worker in a factory. Leadership and accountability go hand-in-hand, you can't have one without the other, in fact, leadership without accountability is akin to a dictatorship; accountability without leadership is extremely frustrating at best or an exercise in futility at worst.
Accountability is like an invisible constraint placed around a leader's ability to operate and control. One definition of accountability is to be subjected to the obligation to report, explain or justify something or to be responsible for some action or purpose. Thus, accountability equals responsibility for a result that you may be called on to give an account of.
Accountability is a mindset, a way of thinking where results matter and the leader is personally invested in the outcome that he is responsible for … and leaders take this very seriously. The accountability mindset is infused into everything a leader does and orients the leader toward accomplishing his desired intent. If you aspire to be a leader, embrace accountability because when you're accountable, you can be counted on to get results – the hallmark of great leaders.
Organizational leaders have an increased level of accountability placed upon their shoulders because they are responsible for the success or failure of an organization; This includes stewardship of the organization's resources, caring for its personnel, and producing bottom-line results. Have you ever wondered why some people don't want to be leaders? I believe it's because leaders are responsible for getting results and some people view this as too much pressure. As a leader it's your responsibility to get the job done … no excuses. The Jedi Grand Master Yoda, from the movie Star Wars , said it best, "Do or Do Not, there is no Try."
As a leader, you are accountable for what you do and with this accountability comes the knowledge that you are on the hook to someone for the results you produce. This implies that a leader cannot just do whatever she wants to; she is accountable for what her organization does or fails to do. We all have to answer to someone … who do you answer to?
If you want to check your level of accountability, ask yourself the following questions. If you want to check the path that you are on, ask – are we going in the right direction? If you want to check the level of quality you are producing, ask – are we meeting or exceeding the standards or are our standards high enough? If you want to check to see how effective you are, ask – are we focused on doing the right things? If you want to check on how efficient you are, ask – are we doing the right things, the right way?
Tips for being more accountable as a leader:
- Understand what you are responsible for
- Review policies, guidelines, and regulations that relate to your mission and objectives
- Always deal honestly and fairly with your followers and constituents
- When you are wrong, admit it early and often … and fix the situation quickly
- Never try to hide a potential problem; bad problems don't get better with age or time