Accountability Flows From the Top

Sam Silverstein Blog

As a kid I can remember playing the game follow the leader. I always wanted to be the leader because the leader determined where we were going and what we were doing. The object of the game was unless you were the leader you had to do exactly what the leader did. In any organization, be it government, business or not-for-profit, what the leader does the people will follow.

Everything rises and falls on leadership. You don’t lead things, you lead people. If the leadership sets a standard of being a good steward of resources, then the people will be a good steward of the resources. If the president of the United States is loose with government resources than his cabinet members will follow.

The scandal in the administration of cabinet members using private planes for unnecessary purposes is merely a reflection of leadership. It is no coincidence that more than one senior official in the administration is facing scrutiny of being loose with the taxpayers money. It is a part of the culture and without leadership changing how they act, the culture will remain the same.

Accountability flows from the top not the other way around. Leadership must model how he or she desires for those they lead to perform. There is a reason why cabinet members felt comfortable doing what they did. Leadership has allowed it in the culture.

Second only to its people, the culture is the most important asset an organization has. The values are determined by the leader which shapes the culture and environment that produces a successful positive climate to work. Whatever the leader tolerates in the culture will become the norm.

Mr. Tom Price did the right thing by resigning. If he had been in a private business he may have been fired for using company resources for his own personal use. Leadership sets the culture. Leadership sets the values. Leadership sets the direction. And the people always follow the leader.