Leading with personal accountability


Leadership and guiding people happens one conversation at a time, and leaders are responsible for the quality of that conversation by asking better questions.

Many organizations today reflect our society’s tendency to blame other people, act like a victim, and often times not take personal responsibility for our own actions.

Recently, I came across the book QBQ-The Question behind the question. What really to ask yourself to eliminate blame, complaining and procrastination.

QBQ is a constructive tool that helps leaders practice personal accountability by asking better questions. That’s what responsible leaders do.

The idea that we are accountable for our own choices and are empowered to make better ones is fundamental to being a better leader.

Taking responsibility for our choices is a big step toward influencing others in a positive way. I mean, who wants to be around a negative leader? Someone who finds faults and complain about others?

Miller suggests we focus on three simple empowering questions that can help us become more accountable leaders:

Begin with “What” or “How” (not “Why,” “When,” or Who”).

Great leaders begin with collecting information to better understand any given situation. If you are looking for victims, you would ask with the question WHO? And WHY did they do it?

When you begin with the WHAT, you are interested in listening rather than blaming.

Contain an “I” (not “they,” “them,” “we” or “you”).

Being an Accountable Leader is about making sure we hold ourselves accountable for our own thinking and behaviors and the results they can produce. By looking for people to blame, we are shifting the responsibility to someone else.

We are also disempowering ourselves of the influence and the outcome of a positive process.

Focus on action

Great leaders are action driven. They use words such as “do,” “make,” “achieve,” and “build” to questions that start with “What” or “How” and contain an “I.” You end up with questions that looks like these:


  • What can I do to help you do your job better?”
  • “What can I do to make a difference?”
  • “How can I support the team?”
  • “How can I help move this forward?”
  • “How can I provide value to you?”
  • “What solution can I provide?”

QBQ is a great leadership practice of personal accountability: We lead our thoughts and actions to better more positive results. We ask better questions. We take action.

Try it and Practice it…and may it serve your relationship to become more positive oriented.

2 thoughts on “Leading with personal accountability

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s