Accountable for Success

Accountability is vital to organizations for many reasons.

Lack of true accountability causes excessive cost,

both economic and psychological; de-motivation in those

who work for the organization; dissatisfaction in those

served by it, and suboptimal performance in general.

Accountability can afford greater freedom for leadership,

or deny and constrain the individual’s ability to perform

effectively. In this sense accountability can be positive

or negative; both are important.

Negative accountability occurs when there is interference

with or blocking of the free exercise of positive

action. Positive accountability occurs when one is

answerable to another for the provision of work; husbanding

of resources; and the delivery of a service, product

or set of results that can be measured in terms of

quantity, quality, cost and time. Positive accountability

should operate at all levels in organizations.This is distributed

accountability or, indeed, distributed leadership.

Authority and accountability are closely related concepts.

The exercise of relevant authority is a critical element

of accountability.

Popular wisdom has it that teamwork involves shared

accountability. But this is a common mistake.Teamwork

is a shared endeavor, not shared accountability.A team is

led by an individual who is personally accountable for

the team results.

Accountability assumes a proactive and conscious commitment

to the purpose of an organization by an individual.

It also presupposes clarity, transparency and participation,

which enable contribution to that purpose.

The 10 Key Management Accountabilities

A bona fide line manager must be accountable for

the following:

1. Deciding who comes into the team, negotiating

and managing a budget for that team, and being

held to account for its expenditure.

2. Deciding who will work where, in which jobs

and when.

3. Securing employee commitment to attain the relevant

goals and providing them with the means

they need to deliver their goals.

4. Giving constructive feedback and deciding upon

individuals’ performance and appraisal ratings,

agreeing on their training and development needs,

and ensuring that these are acted upon.

5. Ensuring that the members of the team meet all

their obligations and, if necessary, changing the

goals, obligations or team members, as appropriate.

6. Providing solutions when confronted with problems.

Accountability entails finding a new solution.

7. Making change happen.

8. Achieving results from peers and colleagues over

whom the manager does not have direct control.

9. Achieving results with and through external agencies,

such as consumers, customers, suppliers and


10. Setting timelines and establishing goals, which then

need to be achieved in terms of quality, quantity

and service.

Comments extracted from Brian Dive‘s Book, The Accountable Leader.


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