Be a Great Manager: Accountability Matters
President Harry Truman famously said, “The buck stops here.” It’s a very quotable saying, isn’t it? But in too many organizations, that “buck” gets passed around and passed around and never finds a real stopping place.
For Truman, it was about the fact that presidents have to make the final decisions and are the ones who must accept the ultimate responsibility for them. But how does this work in organizations, especially large ones? Imagine every decision waiting until the CEO or top executive could address it.
That is why it is critical for managers to be willing to be accountable, and to empower and expect employees to be accountable. In State of the American Manager, Gallup explains that high-talent managers “… assume responsibility for their teams’ successes and create the structure and processes to help their teams deliver on expectations.” Meanwhile, limited-talent managers “fail to organize the workflow of teams, making it more difficult to meet performance expectations.”
This description applies to all managers, from top-level executives to frontline managers and team leaders. Those who role model accountability by accepting responsibility for decisions and outcomes are likely to have teams willing to perform and produce.
If you are unsure whether managers in your organization are holding themselves (and their teams) accountable, periodically take a 360 look at each manager, allowing peers, subordinates, and their managers to evaluate performance. This sort of evaluation will bring into focus any weaknesses and also highlight strengths. It will showcase your great managers.