All too often, people account for their unfulfilled promises by giving a circumstance-based explanation for why the result wasn’t produced

by Insigniam Read more from the Disruptive Leadership issue

Leadership accountability is a condition — one in which people are required or expected to act consistent with their commitments and be responsible for their actions or decisions, including a response to circumstances.

All too often, people account for their unfulfilled promises by giving a circumstance-based explanation for why the result wasn’t produced — “The economy is bad, all of our competitors are not meeting their numbers either,” or “The competition has better pricing. We just can’t compete.” Sometimes having a good story about why a result was not produced is often just as acceptable as actually producing the result.

When someone is being accountable they are able to lay out the actions they took and the actions they did not take that led to an outcome. This includes responding to the inevitable circumstances one encounters. Specifically addressing what you did or did not do to effectively respond to these events and circumstances needs to happen when you fulfill your commitment and when you don’t.

Over time, this will allow you to build power and sustain strong performance when you have been effective and identify the root cause of the breakdown when you are not effective. Do you have leadership accountability? How accountable is your organization?

Jon Kleinman is a partner at Insigniam based in New Jersey. His interests include what shapes behavior and action, and how work environments enhance or detract from people’s ability to perform.

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