What is the most important leadership discipline for you? Is it decisiveness, creative thinking, or effective persuasion?
I’m not choosing any of the above. I have my own point-of-view when it comes to leadership.
So for me, the most important leadership discipline is accountability.
Define accountability and why it is important
Let me be clear. Real leaders should accept accountability.
I define accountability as the ability to accept blame for your decisions. Leadership is followed by praise and blame. A leader who can accept both praise and criticism is a good leader.
A great leader will not just accept blame. He will own it. Bear it and will rectify any mistakes.
Great leaders will take criticisms to improve his work. There is no room for drama. This means the leader will not hate his critics, nor will he change the way he deals with subordinates.
Productivity and accountability go together
When a leader accepts responsibility for his mistakes fewer errors will be made. Subordinates will see the leader’s actions and follow suit.
When everyone in your organization accepts responsibility, everyone will work with efficiency. No more half-measures. No more screw ups.
Why? Because people who are accountable will always actively seek to improve their work.
The results your team will produce will be your identification in the company.
How you can implement practical accountability
Is there a way to implement accountability into your system?
1. The best way to implement accountability is to require you and your team to write a report ever so frequently.
Just a simple progress report for your projects or simply the list of tasks done and mistakes made.
2. Let your team sign a letter of commitment. A simple “contract” which says that they will do their best job with you.
Write the contract using pronouns like “I” and “me” to make it personal and close to home.
3. Alway lead by example. If you have a mistake as a leader, own it.
Your subordinates will surely respect you for braving any criticism. But most of all, when you own the mistakes you also own the glory of fixing it.
Responsibility and saying sorry
Accepting the responsibility makes you a proactive leader. People will see you as an action man.
Your actions will define you and your position in the company.
The first step in accepting responsibility is to apologize for the mistake made. Owning the mistake means you will face the consequences no matter what.
This means firing under-performing managers. This means facing the music yourself.
Leadership means you are willing to do what is necessary to move your organization forward.
Even if it means steeping down. You will step down out of principle.
But the most important thing to do is to correct the mistakes. That is why it is important to own the mistake by saying you’re sorry.
Believe me, covering up your mess will magnify it a hundred fold. Plus, if no one admits the mistake, who will fix it?