No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. This includes leaders, who are often looked to as role models for behaving and what to do in difficult situations.
However, when a leader makes a mistake, it can have a ripple effect in the organization. That is why leaders need to be accountable for their actions. They need to own up to their mistakes and take steps to make things right. Otherwise, the organization can start to unravel. So, what does accountability mean for leaders? And why is it so important?
1. To make decisions that are best for the company or organization
Leaders are tasked with making decisions that will promote the growth and success of their company or organization. Leaders need to be accountable to those they lead to make the best decisions. They need to be transparent about the decision-making process and be open to feedback from employees or members.
Leaders who are not accountable to their constituents run the risk of making decisions that are not in the organization’s best interest. This can lead to stagnation or even decline.
On the other hand, leaders who are accountable to those they serve are more likely to make informed decisions in line with the organization’s needs. For example, Seah Moon Ming, the SMRT Chairman in Singapore, stepped down from a CEO position in Pavilion Energy to focus on his role at SMRT, showing his accountability to the company.
Alongside Neo Kian Hong, they have introduced significant changes to the company to prevent train disruptions. These include organizational restructuring, improved maintenance standards, and more transparency with the media. Their accountability has helped in propagating the fortunes of SMRT.
2. To build trust with customers and employees
Leaders play an essential role in organizational success. They set the vision and direction for the company, establish priorities, and make decisions that impact everyone. Because of their position of power, leaders must be accountable for their actions.
When leaders are accountable, it builds trust with employees and customers. Employees feel confident that their leader is making decisions in the best interest of the company, and customers feel assured that their needs are being considered.
Accountability also breeds transparency and effective communication. Accountable leaders are more likely to be open about their decision-making process and solicit input from employees. As a result, accountability is essential for building trust and ensuring a healthy organizational culture.
3. To learn from their mistakes and grow as individuals
People often laud leaders for their accomplishments, but it is equally essential for them to be accountable for their mistakes. After all, everyone makes mistakes – even leaders. What separates a good leader from a great one is the willingness to learn from those mistakes and grow as an individual.
When leaders are accountable, they take responsibility for their choices and accept the consequences, both good and bad. This accountability fosters a sense of humility and openness to feedback, two essential qualities for any leader.
Furthermore, being accountable demonstrates to followers that their leader is trustworthy and committed to making the best decisions for the team. When leaders are unwilling to be held responsible, it erodes trust and creates an environment of fear and suspicion. Ultimately, being accountable is a vital part of being a successful leader.
4. To set an example for others
For any leader to be effective, they must be accountable for their actions. This is especially important when it comes to setting an example for others. If a leader is not liable, then they are sending the message that accountability is not essential. It can quickly lead to a situation where employees feel that they can do whatever they want without consequence.
To avoid this, leaders need to ensure that they are constantly being held accountable for their actions. They need to start owning up to mistakes, being transparent about decision-making, and taking responsibility for the outcomes of their decisions. They need to set the standard for accountability within the organization by being accountable themselves.
5. To create a culture of accountability
A culture of accountability starts with the leader but must be promulgated throughout the organization to be effective. Every employee must buy into the idea that they are accountable for their actions and must be held responsible by others.
You can only create this culture of accountability if the leader is willing to set the example. A leader who is not accountable cannot expect others to be. The leader must be the one to take the first step to develop a culture of accountability
Accountability is essential for leaders for many reasons. These five reasons mentioned are some of the most important. If you’re a leader, make sure that you are held accountable for your actions. It will make you a better leader and help you set an example for others to follow.