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You Get What You Give in Leadership: Be the Accountable Leader

accountability Nov 08, 2021

As leaders, we all want our team to be accountable, to be passionate about what they do and always bring their best. A crucial missing piece for too many of us is leading by example when it comes to accountability. To have an accountable team, you need to be an accountable leader.

It starts with you and your actions. As the leader, you must be the best example of what you want from your team. Hold yourself accountable, which means being totally open with your team when you miss a deadline or a meeting. Be honest with them, tell them why, and how you will adjust – do the things you want of your team when there is a missed step.

It's very easy as the leader to justify why your time and your results may not always be what you want - you are stretched in a lot of directions, managing people takes a lot of time in your day, and there always seems to be a fire you have to put out. Your team knows this, and will appreciate your openness and accountability even more because of it. 

It's also important for a high functioning team to be empowered to hold their leader accountable just as they would any other team member. Provide opportunity in meetings with your team to ask and be asked for status updates and other questions on accountability to the team. All it will take is for one person to ask you for status on a project, and a positive and spirited discussion resulting from it, for the team to build greater trust in you and each other.

As the leader, you get to set the tone for your team. Demonstrating your expectations of them through your own actions will also have the benefit of the chameleon effect. Research has shown that we tend to unconsciously imitate the people around us, especially those we connect with or admire. As your team trusts you, they will also mirror this good behavior and you will build accountability organically.


Being an accountable leaders seems simple, and you need to take it one step at a time to make it a habit. Here are two ways to start holding yourself more accountable.

Think of a time where you missed the mark and your team knows it. How would you handle it now as an accountable leader?

What one simple thing will you do differently this week to be an accountable leader?


Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

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