Creating Accountable Leaders

It comes as no surprise that organizational leaders all want to improve accountability – from themselves, their peers and their teams. Businesses around the world are investing heavily in developing leadership skills and behaviours, yet few are achieving the desired results they were looking for. The culprit? A lack of accountability.

Data shows that 91% of employees would say that “effectively holding others accountable” is one of their company’s top leadership-development needs.

Holding both oneself and other team members accountable is one of the most important things that a successful leader does. Without accountability, all those leadership behaviours that organizations are trying to develop will simply fly out the window.

  1. Be Self-Aware and Be the Example

Before we can expect others to “be accountable,” we need to consistently demonstrate accountability: delivering on outcomes, taking personal ownership, acting with integrity. This means that, as leaders, we must be accountable to the expectations of what it means to be a leader and what our role requires us to do, and then adjust our approach in order to be most effective. This isn’t easy work. Our behaviours ripple through the organization and create the cultures we wish to build. In my own observation, many leaders underestimate their impact on culture. Before pointing at problems within your team, ask “What part of this do I own?”

  1. Set Clear Expectations

To help create high performance (and highly accountable) teams, we need to set expectations. Defining our expectations is a crucial foundation for building a culture of accountability. Too often organizations spend hours on strategic plans and business outcomes but very little time recalibrating on the “how” to achieve those results. Your people need to be extremely clear on what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. Little exercises, like setting weekly and monthly goals and sharing them amongst team members can make a big difference.

  1. Keep Communication High

High communication goes hand-in-hand with clear expectations. Each one supports the other. Some of the ways we bake-in communication into our routine at The Roundtable are peer recognition, team reflection (what’s working, what’s not working, what could we do better next time?), ongoing team feedback (or feedforward) and regular check-ins on projects. One of my favourite annual exercises is to get my team members to share what they most love about working with their peers, and what’s the one thing each team member could do more of that would really help the team.

What We’ve Learned

By connecting to one another more deeply and more intentionally, leaders empower and energize each other. They also become more accountable to each other and themselves. Yet this takes structure and discipline.

In group coaching cohorts, leaders outline their challenges, ask questions and offer up thoughtful feedback and support in a way that allows each person to ultimately find their own answers. Over the years of delivering our group coaching and mentoring programs, one of the outcomes is sustainable change in behaviour and culture because it puts the accountability of leadership development firmly into the hands of your leaders as the group keeps each other accountable as they build their skills.

And be sure to reach out if we can:

  • Help your leaders build high performance teams
  • Help you create an accountable/results-focused culture
  • Help your leaders navigate change, disruption and growth

If you’re curious about how The Roundtable can help your organization develop an environment where leaders can support each other through coaching and mentoring, let’s start a conversation. Be sure to download our L&D Trends 2023 to see more trends in the year ahead.

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