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The Art of Effective Accountability - Why you need to be great at it.

Leading through Effective Accountability is an Art - You need the perfect combination of Self-Leadership, Team Leadership, Clear Communication and Timely Follow-ups.

Do you know how to effectively hold yourself and others accountable - Consistently?

Effective Accountability is crucial for leaders. Through it, goals are met and people developed.

But, the reality is that many leaders struggle with accountability and it’s concerning. If you are not effective at driving a highly-accountable place of work, then you are probably having problems reaching goals and leading a working environment where people are happy and engaged in driving business success.

Here are 5 things for you to reflect on and start applying immediately to become great on the Art of Effective Accountability:

1) Accountability starts with you

So, how are you at holding yourself accountable? Because the reality is that if you are not good at keeping your commitments (even the ones you secretly set up for yourself) chances are that you are not great at holding others accountable. Keep in mind that everything starts with you, the leader. Keep your promises, follow up with people when you say you would, be quick to admit your mistakes and share the learning with others.

Leaders that fail on the self-accountability aspect of their leadership, will lose their people's trust and their capacity to drive positive change.

2) You must set clear expectations and get on the same page with your people

Imagine for a second you being upset for something that didn’t happen how or when you expected it. Now, you go and ask about it and it ends up being that the person had a completely different idea of the project at hand. Now, you get upset, the other person is confused and afraid for their job, and you want to put this in their performance record, but how fair is it if you didn’t take a moment to ensure that you were all on the same page?

You must get clear on your expectations first so you can communicate them effectively. And Second, remember to communicate them!

3) Make sure people get it

Leaders often assume that others get it as quickly as they do, but people don’t and they are afraid to say so sometimes. What has worked for me very well is asking people: “What is your understanding of what we just covered?” Pay attention for areas that might need to be clarified.

4) Are the expectations realistic?

Some of us are great seeing everything as possible, others are great at visualizing everything that might get on the way. It’s important that when setting expectations, all parties agree to the commitment, so it's important that you are challenging each other’s views and getting to a common agreement that you all believe is possible to achieve.

Leaders that fail at setting realistic goals that everyone can commit to, will lose their ability to inspire their people towards greatness.

Set up goals that are challenging and attainable, so people can learn, grow and succeed.

5) Follow up

Here is when it gets tricky for people when commitments are not met - Because it involves confrontation and most people don’t like it. I get it, it’s uncomfortable. But, keep in mind: this point is extremely important for you to set the tone of the type of leader you are.

When commitments are met, also follow up and let people know that you noticed. Recognize them for a job well done and win on the art of engagement.

Leaders that don’t follow up on their people’s commitments lose their ability to influence change because they won’t be taken seriously.

You let people know that you notice what they do - Whether great or bad, and you'll be stepping it up on leading through accountability.


If you are leading by example, setting clear expectations, making sure people get it and agreeing to commitments, then, following up becomes something natural to do. Ask questions along the way to keep the commitments top of mind and if these are not met at one point or at the date set, be quick to bring it up.


Leaders that fail at running highly accountable teams, eventually lose their ability to influence change.

So, hit reset, and intentionally lead yourself and others through effective accountability. This is crucial for your success as a leader.

"till next time,

Mariana @break2be

Check out the video on this same topic below!

Mariana Jaeger is a Leadership Development and Performance Success expert and has successfully trained, mentored and coached hundreds of people in her career. To learn more about Mariana, click here

Mariana Jaeger


Austin, Texas based, serving clients globally.

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