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by Don Tinney

Accountability, Leadership, Management


Accountability and discipline are often associated with negative stereotypes and consequences. It usually means forcing something on someone. It doesn’t have to be. When done right, accountability is embraced instead of feared. If you are doing all you can as a leader and manager, then accountability results. If not, then it’s time to find another person to fill that seat.

I teach my clients that Great Leadership + Great Management = Accountability. When my clients use this formula, they get to Right Person Right Seat decisions quicker. How do you know you’re doing all you can as a leader and manager? Focus on these 4 attributes for each.


Leadership is about providing a clear direction, creating an opening, working “on” the business and the thinking aspect of the business.

  1. Clear Direction – Does your entire organization know where your company is heading and does everyone know their part in getting there? Is it compelling to the degree that your employees are excited and see opportunities for them? My clients are crystal clear on where their businesses are going by utilizing the Vision/Traction Organizer™.
  2. Creating an Opening – When you have a clear vision, it creates possibilities for your employees. They can envision where they see themselves in the future with the company. And if they don’t, it’s not a bad thing. It just moves you closer to having the Right People in the Right Seats.
  3. “On” the Business – Do you dedicate time to work on big picture and strategy for your company, rather than tactics and daily To Dos? Are you letting go of the vine to allow others to grow and take things from you? Are you equipping your team, providing necessary resources for them to succeed so you can work “on” the business?
  4. Thinking – Are you giving yourself time to get out of the fray and out of the day-to-day to think on the business, taking Clarity Breaks™? Clarity is the key term here. It’s not just a mental break but a break to allow you to think clearly, connecting the dots and seeing the bigger picture from a new perspective. Doing this allows you to be your best so you can walk the talk and lead your company for the greater good.


Management is about setting expectations, consistent communication, working “in” the business and the doing aspect of the business.

  1. Setting Expectations – You cannot hold people accountable to undefined expectations. Are you clearly communicating expectations (Core Values, Priorities, Role) and providing an opportunity to clarify expectations for alignment?
  2. Consistent Communication – Once expectations are set, are you providing the right meeting pulse (frequency) to allow for open communication on performance of these expectations? Do you know what’s on your direct report’s mind and do they know what’s on yours (no assumptions)?
  3. “In” the Business – Are you working in the trenches with your team, being available as a resource for them to do their job? This doesn’t mean doing their job, but being available to them so they can do their job with your support, then recognizing and rewarding their efforts.
  4. Doing – Are you fulfilling your roles and responsibilities that only you can do as a manager? Executing on your commitments and setting the example of high standards for your team?

When you take the approach of Great Leadership + Great Management = Accountability, you will have peace of mind knowing you’ve done what you can to help your direct report succeed. For those who are the Right People in the Right Seat, accountability naturally occurs. For those that don’t, the answer is obvious, even to them and they usually leave on their own. You are doing them a favor by allowing them to thrive elsewhere where they can utilize their true gifts and talents.

This formula has been revolutionary for my clients. Give yourself peace of mind and quit trying to force accountability. Let it be a result of your own actions as a leader and manager. Are you ready?