Study: What cultural attributes create the conditions for leadership accountability

Our Leadership Accountability study discovered the specific cultural attributes of those industry-leading companies that create conditions for strong accountability.

What our study also found was the specific cultural attributes of those industry-leading companies that created the conditions for strong accountability.

The first attribute that was seen as being really important culturally is having leaders who are passionate about their strategy and excited to be at your company. And think about it.  Don’t we all want that? Don’t we all want to be led by leaders who are truly engaged in their roles, truly excited about what the company is doing, and truly excited to be there. That’s the starting point of creating a culture of leadership accountability.

What we also found culturally is that among industryleading companies their leaders model the values of the organization. Now why is that important from an accountability standpoint? W.hen I model those values I’m holding myself accountable to living the values of the company. Now imagine if employees saw that every single day. Saw every single leader modeling the values. That would drive huge accountability across your whole organization. Now imagine if your leaders weren’t modeling the values. What messages would that communicate to your people? Clearly the values are not important.  No one’s holding themselves accountable. I might agree and believe in them, but I want to see my leaders living them. And so if you want to really establish a culture of accountability among your leaders, they need to model the values.

Another interesting cultural attribute that we see among the industry-leading companies in our study is that their leaders demonstrate a high degree of personal maturity. Why is that important for accountability? Well what’s really important is if I’m personally mature I can handle feedback. I can get feedback on when I’m doing something that is not aligned to our values — maybe that it’s off strategy. If I’m immature I can’t handle that feedback. And then I’m defensive. And then I’m always resisting change. And so there is something interesting about leaders needing to be personally mature that’s critical to driving strong leadership accountability. That’s what we’re learning through our research.

Another interesting attribute of a strong leadership culture among industryleading companies is that their leaders really show up with this one-company mindset. They are fully committed to driving the success of the whole organization. They’re not just focusing upon their department, or their line of business, or their division. They clearly drive success at that level but they’re always doing it for what’s in the best interest of this company as a whole. Do you have leaders when they show up, are they actually thinking about your company as a whole?  Do they have a onecompany mindset? Our research shows it’s a critical element that needs to be in your culture if you want to be successful as a company.


Vince’s bestselling book and field guide, take leaders on a path to becoming truly accountable. The Leadership Contract shows you how to move from thinking about great leadership to practicing great leadership — starting today.


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