13 Ways to Become Accountable Leaders

Differentiate yourself from other leaders by taking accountability. It will transform your impact on your team, the results, and the overall company culture. Accountable leaders may seem indefinite in the workplace. Yet, it is about reflecting, owning, and moving forward with improved intentions. Try implementing the following accountable traits to enhance your leadership style.

1. Communicate candidly 

Hearing and saying the reality of a situation does not come easy to everyone. The more open and honest communication is between you and your team, the more transparent work becomes. Try including positive outlooks to negative feedback or an anonymous complaint box to encourage you and your employees to continue being candid.  

2. Outside perspectives

Accountable leaders organize and support various workers in all fields to achieve goals. It is not easy knowing all the inside perspectives while looking at the big picture. Invite outside perspectives to give their opinions. A client who worked with you for years could have a valuable suggestion that changes your business approach entirely.

One outside perspective you can consider is business strategists and consultants. In the IAW community, we have members with decades of experience managing and helping executives close efficiency gaps. Like Karen Booker who has over 30+ years of experience in management services, policy analysis, and operational diagnosis. She is a Global Business Strategist and Policy and Organizational Analyst who works with C-suite CEOs and business executives. You can connect with her here.

3. Be truthful

You would want to work with someone truthful about their intentions. Thus, incorporating honesty leads to trust. Employees will build confidence in your expectations and evaluations as an honest reflection of your opinion, not political manipulation for personal gain.

4. Follow through

Accountability is not only accepting the results but acting on them. A mediocre manager will promise higher sales rates but not put in all the effort. Great leaders will take the time to follow through with their promises, provide the support their employees asked for, and more. It proves to upper management that you can deliver great results and own up when you can not.

5. Avoid the blame game

Often, it can feel like one person or department is the reason for the issue. Accountable leaders take responsibility to reduce conflict and build cooperation. Blaming others should not always be the first response. If someone on the team struggles to complete an advanced task, support them instead of leaving them to take the fall.

6. Track progress transparently

Measuring accountability means deciding on a clear indication for meeting expectations. It reduces the effect of biased opinions on the results. Employees benefit from knowing what will be measured and can respond to problems more objectively.

7. Become personally invested

The people you work with spend a lot of time together, no matter if you work remotely or in the office. The closer you become to them, the more you will be personally invested in their growth. You can spread motivation and incite improvement if you invest in the team.

8. Learn from ups and downs

The natural flow of growth and struggle means constant learning opportunities are always at your door. Your inner saboteur will not teach you how to recover. So, reflect on the results by asking yourself, “what can I learn from this,” and instill a mindset of improvement.

9. Build team accountability

As an executive or manager, you may feel it is your responsibility to hold your team accountable for their mistakes. While communicating what went wrong is key, your employees will not learn to take accountability for themselves if you are doing it for them. Invite them to take ownership of the results, bad or good, and build a network of personal accountability.

10. Reduce micromanaging

It can be easy to slip into micromanaging. As an experienced professional, you know how to do things right the first time. However, this does not allow people to make their own mistakes and learn how to take accountability. The more trust you give in their ability to accomplish a task, the more confidence they will build in their skills.

11. Proactive and collaborative problem solving

Solving issues can come from unexpected places. Great leaders open the floor to their team for solutions they might not consider. For instance, a simple tech issue can proactively be resolved before it occurs if everyone is reflecting on their results. 

12. Clear consequences

Consequences are what instill anxiety when accepting personal accountability. By working with your team and following company rules, you can set clear, non-threatening consequences for unachieved expectations. It is more compelling to own up to mistakes if you support growth over punishment.

13. Ask for help when needed

Recognizing a weakness you cannot overcome on your own may be one of the more difficult aspects of accountability.  While obstacles show perseverance, it does not always mean you can tackle them. Be candid about your inabilities and ask for help. You will earn more respect as a leader for your honesty and collaboration.

Developing accountability takes time. We do not always know what our blind spots are, and accepting our weaknesses can be arduous. Consider joining IAW and grow your accountability with a supportive team of women working on the same leadership traits as you!

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