September: The Month of Integrity
Great Leaders Understand This: Accountability Never Fails
I recently watched a documentary President Richard Nixon. The documentary primarily focused on the end of his presidency, and the Watergate crimes committed. One of the people interviewed made a statement that could not have been more accurate – he said Nixon’s ultimate undoing was his lack of integrity in believing he was accountable to no one.
This, I have learned, is the most common mistake leaders make, their lack of integrity is rooted in their belief they have no accountability. Much of this is rooted in narcissism – an inflated sense of their own importance. Simply put, the highest integrity requires the highest understanding of the importance of accountability. When speaking on accountability, Henry Evans says, “Accountability is the obligations of an individual to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. “
Great leaders understand how accountability works.
- Accountability makes good organizations great, and great organizations unstoppable. When people are accountable for their own actions, when they own their successes and failures, and when they are open to others speaking into that same accountability, there is no stopping their sustainable impact and progress.
- Accountability equals immediate credibility. One of the greatest phrases anyone can say in an organization is, “I own this.” When team members own their responsibilities and roles, remain in their lanes without watching and comparing their work, and rise to others, organizations flourish. “Having authority implies accountability. If you reject the blame for failures under your watch, people reject your leadership.” (Rick Warren)
- Accountability opens up clear decision making and transformational solutions. When accountability is woven into the fabric of an organization, a greater commitment is forged and as result team members gain clarity on vison and mission; decision making becomes much easier because of the trust and safety that exists. When leaders are making clearer decisions, they make fewer mistakes. When organizations make fewer mistakes, they are achieving impactful and transformational results.
Accountability often gets a bad rap. It’s not as negative as many may believe. Accountability is not encroachment into our leadership – it allows us opportunities to show the highest integrity and frees us up to lead with authenticity and credibility. Great leaders seek out accountability in all areas of their lives.
- Do you have a tendency to bristle at accountability? Why do you feel you do this?
- What are 3 things you can do this week to hold yourself more accountable to your team?