At The Accountability Institute™ we get calls from leaders all the time. Many times, a leader calls to say they want help with their people; they want their people to be more accountable. As soon as we hear this, I know that there is an accountability problem and a workplace culture problem. But the problem is not what the leader thinks it is. The accountability problem and the workplace culture problem are not the people’s fault. The problem is actually born in the leader’s lack of accountability.
No leader likes to hear that they are not accountable, and most leaders that we interact with will testify that they are totally accountable. The challenge is that many of these leaders do not truly understand what accountability is. Many leaders think accountability is transactional, that accountability is their people doing stuff. They think that getting things done for the leader is what accountability is all about. That is why we often hear, “I’m going to hold you accountable.”
The reality is that accountability is relational. Accountability is achieved in a positive workplace culture that inspires people to choose to be accountable and be their very best. Where does this positive and productive workplace culture come from? It comes from the leader being accountable to their people first.
To build a workplace culture that inspires accountability, and for people to be their very best, the leader must take on certain relational commitments. This is how accountability is created. The leader that consistently lives the values, always acts in the best interest of their people, is transparent and honest in all their dealings, and every time, without fail, stands by their people, even in the toughest of personal situations, builds an accountable relationship with their people and models what great leadership is all about. Great leaders, accountable leaders, focus on their people and let their people focus on the business.
Accountability is the highest form of leadership because accountability is about people valuing people and ensuring the success and safety of those people. Accountability is leadership first taking on the responsibility to create a workplace culture that inspires the best in people. This happens because the leader is bringing the best in themselves. Ultimately, when a leader is modeling accountability, the entire team will reflect accountability back. That is great leadership. Accountability is leadership.