2: Leadership accountability is the fastest way to become a stronger leader.
Here’s the second post in my 10 Years – 10 Truths series. I’m going to reflect on my decade of helping leaders and organizations scale strong leadership accountability.
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Back in the fall of 2013, I got a phone call from Steve. He ran an outbound sales organization based in Boston. We worked with his company to grow our presence in the US. On the heels of the launch of my book, The Leadership Contract, Steve was calling hundreds of organizations to book appointments for us.
As I answer the phone, Steve yelled, “It’s leadership accountability! That’s the hot button issue.”
He was brimming with excitement as he realized that most of the companies he was approaching became very interested when he talked about their leadership accountability challenges. As a result, his success was amplified as were the number of appointments he booked for us.
I had the opportunity to join some of these calls. It was interesting to hear these senior leaders express their frustration with the lack of ownership and accountability seen by their leaders.
All of this piqued my curiosity. So, we began to conduct formal research. I summarize it in my books. But essentially it validated that companies have significant leadership accountability gaps. For example, a survey of senior HR executives found that 72% of organizations believed leadership accountability was a critical business issue and only 15% were extremely satisfied with the degree of accountability demonstrated by their leaders.
More recently, we have conducted new research to understand the state of leadership accountability.
We have found that it continues to be a critical priority. 71% of senior executives and C-Suite leaders state it’s something they are worrying about. However, 37% of senior executives are extremely satisfied. A nice increase – my team and I take 100% credit for this improvement. I’m obviously joking, but I know our work in this area has helped companies accelerate the effectiveness of their leaders.
This is how I have confirmed that leadership accountability is a crucial aspect of effective leadership. And it’s the fastest way to help leaders become more effective. A CHRO we have been working with remarked in a recent meeting that the leaders in her company who have really embraced accountability and the ideas in my books are clearly setting themselves apart from leaders who haven’t made the same commitment.
Why is leadership accountability so effective?
Well, because when you lead with accountability it means leaders take responsibility for their actions and decisions, and are held responsible for the outcomes they produce. When leaders hold themselves accountable, they gain the respect and trust of their followers, as they are seen as honest, reliable, and dependable. In fact, our recent research reveals that accountability is the number one thing that employees use to determine their trust in a leader. This is followed closely by integrity and trustworthiness.
Being accountable as a leader involves being transparent in communication with team members, accepting feedback and criticism, and taking responsibility for both successes and failures. It means setting clear goals and expectations and holding oneself and others accountable for meeting them. When leaders are accountable, they set an example for their team members and create a culture of accountability within their organization.
Moreover, a leader who is accountable can learn from their mistakes and grow as a professional. By taking responsibility for their actions, they can identify areas for improvement and take steps to develop their skills and knowledge. This, in turn, helps them become a stronger leader and motivates their team members to do the same.
So, if you need to step up in new ways, focus on accountability. It will foster trust, transparency, and growth, and helps leaders become more effective in their roles. By holding themselves accountable, leaders can create a positive work environment and inspire their team members to achieve their goals and fulfill their potential.
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