Leadership – 8th in a Series

Ed BurghardI Am Accountable

Experts generally agree that accountability is an important concept in leadership. Accountability is about taking personal responsibility for your decisions and actions. This has been a “hot” topic as people dissect the driving reasons behind the economic downturn. The question being asked is – “Who should be held accountable for the situation?” Is it the executives on Wall Street? Is it the government oversight agencies? Is it the sub-prime mortgage lenders? The search for assigning accountability continues and in the end will likely be unsuccessful. But, the situation is an object lesson on both the challenge and importance of accountability for effective leadership. Lacking clear accountability, our Nation and the world were pitched into an economic crisis of epic proportions.


Here are links to the other posts in my leadership series.

1st in a series

2nd in a series

3rd in a series

4th in a series

5th in a series

6th in a series

7th in a series

What Does It Mean To Say “I Am Accountable”?

I attended a lecture one time where this was the focus of the talk. The speaker used the word accountable as an acronym to describe its meaning in leadership. Hopefully you will find the acronym useful as you think through what it means to be accountable.

Act swiftly to understand what is needed.

Champion everyday activities with a sense of urgency.

Commit to do things better today than yesterday.

Own your operation (department) as though it was your personal business.

Understand that mistakes are learning opportunities and not obstacles.

Never let the inappropriate actions of others control your thoughts.

Take time to listen to and recognize the contribution of others.

Adapt quickly to changing dynamics

Begin each day by asking “How can I make a difference?”

Learn from the minority point of view, it often contains critical perspective.

Encourage everybody to continually “raise the bar”.

Additional Thoughts

I watched a great video entitled “Lessons Of The Geese”. It is a good metaphor for teamwork and the importance of letting everybody be in the lead position for a time. It pays to share leadership and take turns at doing hard jobs.

I also found a document entitled “Lessons From Geese”. It provides 4 specific lessons that will improve your leadership skills. Take a moment and read the short document.

The core take-away from the metaphor is the power of trust. And personal accountability is a characteristic that helps build trust in you as a leader. If you strive to always do the right thing, and take responsibility for your actions (win or lose), people will respect and trust you.


What is your experience with accountability? Do you think accountability is rare or common? What happened the last time you accepted accountability for a failure? What lessons would you add to the “Lesson From Geese” document?

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