[Definition: the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.]
Today more than ever there is an accountability crisis in the world. We see leaders of all kinds deflecting responsibility, making excuses and placing blame when things go wrong or they themselves fail. We have come to accept this instead of challenging and expecting more of leaders. It must be understood that leadership is a privilege that is earned, not a right, and it comes with great responsibility.
When it comes to leadership of any kind, accountability is essential. Leaders must not only take responsibility for their words and actions, but also the words and actions of those who they lead.
There must be communication, direction, and follow-up. This includes recognition and praise as well as guidance, problem solving and correction when problems arise.
Accountability means standing by those you lead, not in front or behind them. Extraordinary leaders see others as partners, not subordinates and expect them to not only hold themselves accountable but hold the leader accountable as well.
A particularly important aspect of leadership is certainly that the leader, at whatever level he or she is, is required to make decisions that affect everyone’s well-being. And in fact, the willingness to take responsibility for actions that have a relapse on their group membership is a trait that characterizes the leaders.
The availability to make decisions on behalf of several people is something that many shun, regardless of personal values and convictions: it is a phenomenon that psychologists define as “aversion to responsibility”.
Some studies have identified the aversion to responsibility as the best predictor of the will to command and that it provides a cognitive and neurobiological framework to better understand the nature of leadership.