Accountable Leadership: Definition, Importance And Tips

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Accountability can help professionals in meeting goals and objectives in the workplace. Accountability can optimise and accelerate a positive change in the organisation. Understanding more about accountable leadership can help you create a productive and supportive work environment. In this article, we define accountable leadership, discuss its importance, review a few tips to improve it and explore how an accountable leader practises accountability in the workplace.

What Is Accountable Leadership?

Accountable leadership is the act of accepting and taking responsibility for the outcomes and results achieved in the workplace. A simple example of accountability in the workplace can be a CEO taking the responsibility for the outcome that the company gets after running a certain strategy. A whole team of professionals may work together to build a plan but if the plan fails the team leader takes the responsibility for the failure.

A highly accountable leader can accept their failure and ensure to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Accountability may involve the willingness to address the questions and take responsibility for the outcomes. Learning about accountability in the workplace can help new leaders take responsibility at the beginning of their careers.

Read more: Difference Between A Leader And A Manager: Essential Points

Importance Of Accountable Leadership

The success of an individual or a team can directly help the overall growth of the company. Here are some uses of accountability in the workplace:

Helps in building trust

Practising accountability on higher levels can build trust among team members. Observing their leaders taking responsibility for their decisions can give team members a feeling of confidence and trust in the workplace. Building trust can also benefit the organisation in getting better engagement and higher productivity.

Improves relationships

Building strong relationships within the workplace is also one of the most effective outcomes of accountability by leaders. It can allow leaders to improve their relationship with their team members and make them feel comfortable. Getting noticed by leaders can help team members become more engaged in projects. Professionals can feel comfortable sharing their opinions and ideas for the growth of the company.

Read more: What Is The Importance Of Leadership In The Workplace?

Reduces errors and mistakes

Accepting mistakes can allow accountable leaders to find possible ways to fix possible mistakes. Developing a culture of accountability can help leaders improve the quality and productivity of work. Leaders can become open to suggestions from other professionals in the workplace. It can help in the overall growth of the organisation by gathering new, creative and innovative ideas from different team members.

How To Create Accountability In The Workplace

Accountability can allow leaders to understand that they are responsible for their personal decisions, individual performance goals and the resources they require to perform well. Here are some helpful steps you can take to create accountability in the workplace:

1. Set clear goals

Setting clear goals can be a helpful step to bring accountability to the workplace. As a leader, you can set goals for a project and explain them to the team members. Clarifying your expectations can allow you to take the responsibility for your actions. Leaders can ensure better productivity by explaining goals during the onboarding process. You can make goal setting more effective by ensuring all the team members understand and know the project requirements from beginning to end.

In case of any misunderstanding, accountable leaders can take responsibility for the lack of communication in the team. Communicating with team members about rewards and consequences of possible results can help you create a sense of accountability in the workplace. Setting the right and clear goals can also help in getting positive results. Reminding team members why your efforts are important can be a great way to motivate them.

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2. Record progress

As a leader, you can measure the progress of your team and work towards achieving the goals. Consider analysing metrics and data to track the progress of a project. You can also create weekly progress reports and measure quantifiable results. Recording progress can allow leaders to identify areas of improvement and make the required adjustments and changes. Collaborating and training team members can be a great way to improve the overall progress of the team.

3. Gather feedback

With the help of accountability, leaders can turn problems into constructive feedback. Gathering feedback can also help you remain accountable for your responsibilities. Feedback from your team members can help you adjust your goals and expectations. Make sure team members are comfortable in sharing feedback and discussing their problems with you. You can also help team members by mentioning their accomplishments and telling the areas where they require improvement.

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4. Conduct meetings

Leaders can improve the accountability of the overall team by conducting frequent meetings. You can schedule meetings at various stages of a project. For example, consider hosting a meeting at the beginning of a project and discussing all the requirements. You can also host individualised meetings with each team member to provide the necessary feedback. Meetings can build stronger relationships between team members and leaders.

In addition, professionals in your team can also introduce new ideas for the project. You can record the progress of your team and provide them with information regarding unfinished tasks through meetings. During a meeting, leaders can also address the questions of their team members.

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5. Promote experimentation

Leaders can also promote experimentation to keep them and their team members accountable in the workplace. You can allow team members to use different strategies to complete a project without affecting the quality of the work. As some professionals may find it difficult to use a certain method, providing them with other options can benefit the team. You can allow your team to experiment with a task and take responsibility for their actions. To avoid experimental risk, leaders can encourage communication among the team.

6. Customise project goals

As a leader, you can understand the capability of each team member. Before assigning a task, consider evaluating if a team member can handle it. You can also talk with a team member and discuss if they are able to complete the task on time. In case the team member is unable to handle it, consider allocating the task to another member.

In some cases, leaders may also customise project goals according to the individual capabilities of team members. Before customising goals, discuss how much time an individual team member may take to complete the project. It can also help them become accountable and complete the goals as committed.

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Additional Tips To Improve Accountability

Here are some additional tips you can consider to improve accountability:

  • Become honest. Leaders can improve accountability by becoming honest with their team members. Set aside your personal benefits, pride or ego and accept your failures and mistakes. In addition, leaders who are honest with themselves can take accountability for their actions and find the right solution to solve an issue.

  • Take responsibility for mistakes. Taking responsibility and apologising for their mistakes can help leaders become accountable. By accepting and admitting your mistakes, you can focus on the end result of the project rather than focusing only on the problem.

  • Practise active listening. With the help of active listening, leaders can become open to suggestions from other professionals in the workplace. Listen to the opinions of team members and find a possible solution that is less time and resource-consuming. It can also help you discover new and effective ideas.

  • Motivate team members. You can motivate your team members by showing them examples of good work. Other ways to motivate a team are creating a reward system or providing advancement opportunities.


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