How accountable leadership results in a healthier, happier team
Accountability has been something of a buzzword lately: accountability in world
banking, accountability in debt markets, political accountability.
But what is it to be an accountable leader? And what are the benefits that this style of
leadership brings to the overall team?
One trap that many leaders fall into is wanting to appear as the "perfect leader". They
concern themselves with the vision and direction of the team exclusively. When a
problem crops up, they're quick to look for a scapegoat or external reason for the issue.
When none is available, they go out of their way to minimize the problem (no matter
what its size), and often have issues dealing directly with it.
Why do leaders behave this way? Because they feel a leader who is shown to make
errors won't be trusted to lead the team.
We'd argue that accountability is the opposite of what we've described above. Instead of
looking for a scapegoat or minimizing a problem, accountable leaders take full ownership
over problems. If their plan to increase sales isn't working, instead of blaming external
factors they personally look into it and come up with course corrections.
The second test of an accountable leader comes from their team – what happens if a team
member makes an error? Again, instead of berating the employee for the error, an
accountable leader takes ownership of it, and helps guide the team to a solution.
And what about the benefits of having an accountable leader?
- Higher morale: No one wants to stand out if the cost of failure is being a
scapegoat. Having an accountable leader means a happier, hardworking team
who are fully engaged in the company.
- Constant improvement: When a team is obsessed with minimizing problems or
finding people to blame for them, there's no room to face up and address them
head on. Facing an issue can mean big improvements – not facing them can mean
even bigger problems.
So if you're a leader at your organization, ask yourself this question: Do you accept full
accountability for your team? If not, it may be time to look at ways to change that