The Wheel of Modern Leadership Part 5: Accountability at Work

by Kira Bruno on December 18, 2023


As President & CEO of FORTIS Resource Partners, I’ve been a long-time proponent of the principle of accountability, especially in the workplace. I’ve learned over time that the cornerstone of effective leadership and a thriving professional environment lies in fostering accountability at every level. In our fifth installment of The Wheel of Modern Leadership series, we delve into why and how accountability at work is vital for success.

My perspective on accountability was shaped significantly by my experience growing up. The examples set by my family instilled in me the value of being accountable from a young age. It sounds so simple, but they just did what they said they were going to do, often at personal cost to their own comfort or convenience. These lessons have been integral in shaping my professional ethos—lessons that are as important today as ever.

The Backbone of High-Performing Teams

In my journey, I’ve observed that high-performing teams are not just a product of talent or resources; they’re built on a foundation of accountability. When team members are accountable for their actions and decisions, it creates a culture of trust and reliability. It means going beyond just doing your job to owning your role and its impact on the larger organization.

Leading by Example

Leaders are the torchbearers of accountability. Our actions set a precedent. With that in mind, it’s crucial to communicate expectations clearly and consistently. I’ve always believed in being direct and upfront, leaving no room for ambiguity about what is expected. This approach has helped me set the tone and build a culture where accountability is valued and practiced.

Constructive Feedback: A Tool for Growth

One of the most powerful tools in fostering accountability is constructive feedback. In my early career, I was stringent about punctuality and commitment. While I have softened my approach over time, the essence remains the same: holding people to their commitments. Private, constructive feedback can be a catalyst for improvement. It encourages team members to look within and take ownership of their growth.

Integrating Accountability into Hiring and Management

Accountability starts right from the hiring process. It’s essential to assess a candidate’s propensity for accountability and to nurture this trait through effective management. Regular check-ins, clear performance metrics, and open communication are key strategies to ensure team members remain accountable.

Embracing Accountability for Organizational Success

True accountability goes beyond work; it’s a mindset that influences every aspect of our lives. It’s about facing uncomfortable conversations, being responsible in communication, and, most importantly, leading with integrity. In my tenure as a leader, I’ve seen firsthand how a culture of accountability can transform work environments, enhance team dynamics, and drive organizational success.

Accountability: A Self-Assessment

Do you feel that you hold yourself accountable? Take a moment to reflect on that question this week. Even if these values weren’t distilled in you as a child, never forget that accountability is a skill that can be learned and honed. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to guide our teams toward a higher standard of behavior, and help them to understand the importance of accountability and how it can be a powerful tool for growth. By assessing your own accountability, you take the first step in leading the way.

Accountability at work is a daily practice that requires commitment, integrity, and continuous effort. Even as the world changes around us, seemingly by the minute, we can regain control by creating an environment where everyone feels responsible for their success—and the success of others. It’s a critical spoke on the Wheel of Modern Leadership. With a little self-reflection, it can be the force that drives your professional life forward.

Thanks for reading! Don’t miss our previous installments in The Wheel of Modern Leadership:


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