Four ways to lead with accountability!


Accountability gets a bad rap! Why leaders struggle with accountability? If I walked into your organization, what would be the signs of accountability in place?

Accountability does not have to be a bad word. In fact, the leaders who get it right, create an environment of high trust and high performance. Accountability can transform the way you lead yourself and your team to success. Leading with accountability is a critical aspect into effectively managing your business by helping people become more successful.

You have to count on your team and they have to count on you to deliver the goals created together.

Every company wants to achieve high levels of performance, but accountability usually shows up after the fact. What went wrong? Who is responsible? Or you will hear the statement, “We need to hold our people accountable.”

But what does it take to create that kind of culture of accountability? I sat down recently, with Greg Bustin, the author of Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture.  Greg and his consulting firm collected data from over 3,200 CEO’s and other key executives from around the world over a five year period. He discovered that accountability is the greatest threat in many organizations.

So, let’s look a little closer on what we need to create a culture of accountability:

Clarity and Purpose

You need to have a clear picture of where you going and what you want. Is everyone in your organization have clear picture of what success looks like? Leaders need to be really clear on what matters the most to their organization. It begins with clarity.  One exercise that can help you create clarity with your team is a short series of purpose type of questions:

  1. Why are we here?
  2. Who are we?
  3. What’s expected of me?
  4. What are the specific goals we are aiming for?

Character and values matter

Character is the first pillar of Greg’s Bustin Seven Pillars of Accountability.  Here is his definition of Character: “Our values are clearly defined and communicated. Values shape our character: We do what’s right for our customers, employees, suppliers, and investors…even when it’s difficult.” Character can be a strong foundation for leader’s accountability because it sets the example and the tone for the rest of the organization.

Written plans creates better accountability

If you want to keep track of what you want, be sure to have a written plan.  Get your team aligned and agree on key objectives to drive high performance that impact your business. The plans must be very clear and specific to accomplish measureable results. These plans can also identify the organization’s key priorities and show very clearly who will do what by when.

Remove Obstacles

As leaders, we need to be aware of what’s holding our team back. What’s not working? Greg Bustin suggests to ask the following question-“Does everyone knows the difference between a mistake and under-performance?” Which goes back to ensure we have leaders that are comfortable coaching and foster an environment of truth and candor.

If you like to gain more insights and wisdom about accountability, be sure to watch my interview with Greg Bustin below:


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