As a leader, how high are you setting the accountability bar?

The leader is the high bar of the group. Very few times is the team going to be more accountable than you.

If you expect good people to follow you willingly—willingly, not just because you have a title—you have to be worthy of being followed. Accountability is a key part of how people determine a leader’s worthiness.

More than looks

We’ve all been around leaders who were good at looking like leaders without having the chops to back it up. The difference in people who are real leaders is that they take ownership, an essential part of which is accountability.

Of course, everyone expects their leader to be accountable—that’s their job.
So, automatically there’s this perception of how accountable a leader is supposed to be. That sets the bar. Real leaders use that bar as a measuring stick.

Successful leaders consider all the things they’re supposed to be accountable for and measure their performance against those things:

  • I’m highly accountable for X. 
  • I’m not accountable for Y. 
  • I’m supposed to be (and I need to be) accountable for Z, but I’m not doing enough. 
Hold yourself accountable to set the bar

Leaders need to have those internal conversations to evaluate where their accountability lies. And to know what things they absolutely need to focus on because the buck stops with them. That’s taking ownership, and ownership is what separates real leaders from posers.

Have you made your accountability list?

Try it and see how it helps make you a more authentic leader. Not everything can fit in the top bucket of high accountability. So, it forces you to prioritize. Prioritizing adds a different level of transparency than just defaulting to “I’m in charge, so I’m accountable for everything.”

Get real—make it a point today to determine what you are truly accountable for. Honestly evaluate how well you’re meeting those accountabilities, and OWN THEM. Ownership is accountability on steroids. 


P.S. Ownership is one of the key topics covered in our training programs and a frequent topic in executive coaching sessions.

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