When you take on a leadership role you’ve actually signed up for something really important. There are four terms in particular we all have to embrace.
In order to build strong leadership accountability you need really a partnership between leaders and the organization. At an individual level, it’s important that leaders embrace this idea that I call the leadership contract which really means you need to understand that when you take on a leadership role and are in an leadership role, you’ve actually signed up for something really, really important and there’s four terms in particular we all have to embrace.
The first is that leadership is a decision and you have to be really clear on defining yourself in the leadership role that you’ve been given. That’s the starting point of accountable leadership.
What leaders must do next is be clear on their obligation as a leader. You need to understand how are you going to create enduring value in your company so that your company is stronger. How do you create enduring value so you create a more positive working experience for your employees? How do you create enduring value for your customers, for your stakeholders, and even in the communities in which you do business? We have high expectations of leaders today and we expect that they’re living up to and stepping up to their obligations.
What leaders must also do is embrace the hard work because leadership is hard work. It’s not an easy role to be consistently good at. To be a truly accountable leader means embracing that there will be challenging things you must do as a leader but what we find is many leaders avoid the hard things — avoid giving candid feedback; avoid managing poor performers; avoid making difficult decisions that might be in the best interest of the company. But you resist making the decision because it might make you unpopular with your team. Leaders need to embrace the hard work because if they don’t they don’t realize how it weakens themselves and weakens their company. But if you have the courage to tackle the hard work, you become stronger, your company becomes stronger and that’s how you drive accountability.
The final thing leaders must do is they’ve got to connect. They’ve got to build relationships with their colleagues across the company because the model of leadership today is more distributed. It’s more networked. We’re working together on cross-functional teams, within teams and we need to know how to establish strong relationships with the people we work with every single day.
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.
Vince offers three major keynote topics, making him a great fit for conferences, corporate leadership summits or executive/management retreats.