What is accountability - and leadership accountability - in particular? When I ask that question of CEOs, business owners, boards members, and senior managers, I'm often met with stunned, confused, and even somewhat frightened looks. For some reason, its meaning in the business world has become something nebulous and almost mythic. But it's not. Leadership accountability is not a nebulous idea and it's not something of myths: it's the core of your job as a leader.
Leadership accountability is simply doing what is expected of you by the people and for the organizations you are expected to lead.
So, what do your employees expect of you? What is needed for the good of the organization?
From my experience, employees typically want nothing more of their leaders than to:
- Provide a vision: A clear direction, focus, and a game plan as to what's going to happen and when to ensure the organization's viability
- Identify and pursue opportunities for enhanced success
- Clear the bureaucratic "roadblocks" and deal with difficult situations quickly and fairly
- Share information regularly and honestly - the good, bad and ugly
- Provide opportunities to learn, grow, and gain skills to maintain individual and organizational competitiveness
- Walk the talk. Model the values the employees are expected to uphold
- Hold themselves, their managers, and others accountable to do the jobs they're being paid to do
- Acknowledge them (the employees), appreciate them, and thank them for their contributions
Employees expect their managers to be able to manage resources, schedules, people, etc. That's a manager's job. However, a leader is a person who fulfills these base management tasks, while also focusing on: "What's next? Where does the organization need to go next and what will my team need to get us there?"
Leaders think beyond the current frustrations and pressures. That's how they identify opportunities and foresee roadblocks. That's how they do their jobs. That's how they're able to lead. That's how they do what is expected. That's why they're respected.