Low Accountability Leadership | 120 Seconds to Better Leadership

I’ve done thousands of executive assessments over the course of my career, and unfortunately this is one of the patterns that we see. And low-accountability leaders have three things in common.

Avoid Feedback

Number one, they avoid feedback. Because deep down they know they’re not doing a great job, and they don’t want people to find out about that. So the idea of employee engagement surveying, they’re not going to like it. Skip level meetings—they’re not going to like it. They’re not going to want to go through a 360 process because they don’t want their lack of accountability or their weaknesses to be brought into light.

Deflect Feedback

The second thing they share in common is that they deflect feedback. If they have no choice but to get the feedback, an employee survey’s going to go to everyone. They will deflect the meaning of that feedback. So they’ll say things like, “it wouldn’t have been so harsh if we weren’t going through such a tough business issue. It wouldn’t have so harsh if the right people got the survey.”  

If it’s a 360, “it wouldn’t have been so harsh if you had talked to the right people. I should have had you talk to more people that like me.”

They’ll find a way to take the feedback and make it meaningless, like it doesn’t count. 

Blame Others

Three, they’re prone to blame. Really accountable leaders take responsibility for things that area actually not their fault. Low-accountability leaders will blame. They’ll blame other people, things that are completely out of their control. So if you see these behaviors in a leader, they avoid feedback, deflect feedback, and blame others, you know you’re dealing with a low-accountability leader.