Accountability and Leaders

A sense of accountability in leadership demonstrates leaders’ high ability to be responsible and committed to the set goals and objectives in an organization, team or group. Accountability in leadership refers to recognized responsibilities for policies made, decision made, judgments, actions taken and products produced or purchased. Accountability plays a great role in building trust between the leader and the followers or leaders and stakeholders in any organization. It is therefore highly important for any leader to show a high sense of accountability to be able to gain respect and trust to those looking upon them for fulfillment of group or organizational goals and objectives.

What is Accountability?

Accountability refers to the element of being responsible for own action and being able to offer a convincing reason for it. Accountability is the duty of a person to account for its action, accept responsibility for them or their consequences, and to provide the result of their action in a transparent way. Accountability happens when there is a relation where a body or individual, and the performance of functions or tasks by that body or individual, are answerable to another’s direction, oversight or request to give justification for their conduct or information. Accountability concept thus engages two different stages that include enforcement and answerability. Accountability guarantees that decisions and actions taken by obligated individuals such as supervisors or managers are subjected to scrutiny so as to ensure that organization initiatives meet their define objectives and responds to the stakeholders needs that they are  meant to address, thus contributing to better performance and success in operations (World Bank group, n.d.). Accountability process ensures that an organization is committed to answer to stakeholders and balance the stakeholders’ needs in it decision-making activities and processes, and delivers over this commitment.

How to be Accountable

One way that individual can be accountable is by accepting responsibility or liability to their actions. Accepting responsibilities means being ready to take a role assigned to him or her and offering all their skill and knowledge to acquire the best results. Being liable means that a person assigned to a certain role accepts taking blames if anything goes wrong and suffering the consequences of own action. One can also be accountable by being answerable to their results. Meaning one can justify the results obtained from a decision or action taken by that individual or a group the individuals he or she was supposed to guide or direct. This may involve use of data to justify events or outcomes. One can also be accountable by owning their mistakes.

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This involves accepting their mistakes and taking measures to correct them or being ready to suffer the consequences of their mistakes (World Bank group, n.d.). In most cases, there are rules that define what will transpire if something happens or expectations when one is assigned to a certain task. For instance, in an organization, there are laws that govern people actions and consequences to be suffered if one fails to abide by these laws. In this case, one should embrace his or her mistakes and go through the punishment defined for failing to adhere to the set rules and regulations. In addition, most groups have rules and procedures set to handle different tasks or operations. One can be accountable by showing or justifying that the rules were followed, explaining the problems encountered, how they were solved and why they were solved in that manner. This will give a convincing respond that demonstrates a sense of responsibility and high level of commitment to their assignment (SGT Lazo, n.d.).

Who is Accountable for Accountability?

Who is accountable for accountability, normally depends on the referred organization or body and individual level of operation. For instance, an elected government is accountable to its citizens for any action, decision or policy defined by its officers or party. Junior government officers are accountable to senior officers for any action they take or decision they make. Senior officers are accountable for the actions of their junior officers who they supervise. An organization is accountable to its stakeholders, especially investors and customers for any decision made, practice or actions any of its employee is engaged in. In addition, every worker in an organization is accountable for his or her own action. However, Supervisors are accountable for action of the group they supervise. In army each officer is accountable for his or her own action. However, those assigned team or group to lead such as sergeants are accountable for the action of officers they manage or their junior officers (SGT Lazo, n.d.). Accountable for accountability, thus depends on the set hierarchy and the role one is giver over another person, team or group of people in an organization.

What Happens if a Leader Losses Accountability?

A good leader knows that accountability creates trust. When one is accountable other people trust his or her capabilities as a leader. However, when a leader losses accountability, then trust is lost. This implies that no one can entrust that leader with any responsibility. Consequently, a person ends up losing his or her position as a leader.


SGT Lazo, M. (2019). 5107 88M,B104 Public speaking accountability and leaders. Basic Leader Course.

World Bank group. (n.d.). Accountability in governance. Retrieved from