How do you stay accountable in leadership?

When you’re the leader of an organisation, you are expected to define the future strategic direction for your team and oversee the successful achievement of the objectives set. You may well have the freedom in this position that you may never have had in your career before. Finding a balance between revelling in this situation and actually remaining grounded can be difficult. The first thing to remember is that the numbers don’t lie: you are responsible for the commercial performance of your organisation and the planning/forecasting for the future. However, there are a number of other ways that you can find out what is really going on, potentially uncover some blind spots and remain accountable when leading an organisation.

Seek feedback from your staff

Every good business has a solid business plan in place which is where you set out your key performance indicators (KPIs) for success. If you have a team of senior managers or employees working for you, holding regular meetings where you (and they) can report back on progress is a key opportunity to get feedback. However, don’t fall in to the trap of just discussing what you have been doing to reach the goals of the company. Looking at the past is valuable but looking to the future is more so! What are you all going to do over the next weeks or months to keep things on track.

The other thing that people don’t spend enough time doing is: management by walking about. This is a great opportunity to get honest feedback from your team and find out what is really going on where the work is actually done.Rest assured that they will hold you accountable if they feel you are deviating from your plans.

Gain an independent perspective

Many businesses are structured with a CEO who is responsible for the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly growth and development of a company and a chairman who acts as an independent advisory partner. Whether you work with a board of directors who don’t work directly for the business, or a chairman who again works impartially from the day-to-day operation of the business it’s imperative you work closely with someone who can give you a detached view of your company. Don’t worry if it appears that they don’t have relevant sector or organisational experience. Their job is to ask challenging questions – and the best questions often come from people with wildly different experiences.

Work with your peers

Joining a group of Managing Directors, CEOs, entrepreneurs or business leaders can be a great way to pool ideas and share resources. You will be able to empathise with the challenges each other face daily and provide knowledge and expertise to support one another in your own roles. What’s more, by sharing updates on your latest projects, you will gain an outside opinion on the direction of your business which will serve to make you feel more accountable.

Share your goals

Sharing goals with someone close to you, whether that’s a partner, a close friend, family member or mentor can be a great way to help you improve your accountability. In sharing your goals, you turn them into something tangible and something you could ask your trusted person to ask you about periodically. If there’s no update when they ask you if you’re progressing with a certain objective, it can serve as a reminder to you that you need to focus in on the goal you set.

Look at the outcomes

By clearly stating the potential outcomes of certain goals, tasks or objectives you’re more likely to feel motivated to see them through. If, for example, winning a new customer could mean a pay rise for a certain department or individual within the business, you’re more likely to feel accountable that the objective is met once you can see a direct consequence of doing so.

If you are managing a business and would like to work with someone who’s helped other business leaders transform their own accountability, email St Andrews Highway today at

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