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Navigating Uncertainty: Leadership Accountability in Times of Crisis

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In the face of adversity, leaders may struggle to manage their teams effectively.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, over half of all professionals globally worked remotely at least 2.5 days a week. This has since increased dramatically, with 88% of organizations now insisting their employees work from home and implement social distancing.

Leaders must adapt to a more flexible workplace and create a culture of accountability so that their organization can successfully weather the COVID-19 storm.

Leadership Accountability in Uncertain Times

Today’s infographic, from bestselling author Vince Molinaro, reveals the five behaviors that leaders can adopt in order to provide thoughtful navigation through uncertainty.

leadership accountability in times of crisis

>> Join Vince Molinaro’s Community of Accountable Leaders

The Impact of Leadership Accountability

As the workforce pivots to remote working arrangements, the benefits of flexible working policies are coming into sharper focus.

Research shows that these policies can lower overhead costs, reduce commuting times and increase employee satisfaction—in addition to attracting top talent. Moreover, the shift to working remotely could boost the U.S. economy by $4.5 trillion annually by 2030.

But achieving these benefits requires accountability from everyone in an organization, and in an increasingly virtual world, that can become difficult to manage.

Challenges Facing Leaders Today

Leaders are already subject to an array of challenges that they must overcome, such as:

  • The pressure to differentiate: Leaders feel an unrelenting pressure to innovate and help their organizations stand out in a sea of ruthless competitors.
  • Executing the strategy: Leaders must align the organization to ensure employees are clear about what needs to get done to execute priorities seamlessly.
  • Leading transformational change: With so many moving parts, constant change across several aspects of a business can be difficult for leaders to manage.
  • Creating enduring value: Customers, boards, and shareholders have high expectations for leaders in exchange for their loyalty.
  • Building future talent: Leaders must build and nurture the next generation of leaders in addition to managing the day-to-day.

These mounting pressures can have a detrimental impact on a business leader’s performance, so it is crucial that they get the support they need now, more than ever.

The Characteristics of Accountable Leaders

Truly accountable leadership is the only way an organization can weather uncertainty in a world that has been upended. Research reveals that among the strongest performing companies, accountable leaders consistently demonstrate five behaviors that set them apart from others.

  1. Hold others accountable for high standards of performance
    Good leaders make mutual expectations clear by consistently reinforcing what is important, and what employees should prioritize in their roles.
  2. Tackle tough issues and make difficult decisions
    Technology is hugely beneficial, but it should never replace the human element. Picking up the phone or having a Skype call is more immediate and personal, especially when it comes to problem solving and making tough decisions.
  3. Communicate the strategy across the organization
    Leaders must ensure that employees have complete clarity in terms of the company’s vision to do their jobs effectively. Creating a set of well-defined goals can help people stay engaged and decrease their stress levels.
  4. Express optimism about the company and its future
    Many employees can feel isolated and disconnected in the virtual world, so leaders must provide support, positive energy, and a sense of hope for the future.
  5. Display clarity about external trends in the business environment
    Finally, it is critical to help employees make sense of the current situation right now. Leaders must provide honest and transparent communication in a way that manages fear, stress, and anxiety. This encourages employees’s determination to help the organization succeed.

Leading The Future

As we embrace the unknown, it is clear that leadership accountability will become more important than ever.

In fact, it has become a crucial element for future-proofing organizations in times of crisis or drastic change. Perhaps more importantly, it is necessary for encouraging teams to emerge more connected and resilient than ever before.

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Entrepreneurship

How Leadership Accountability Drives Company Performance

What impact does leadership accountability have on the performance of an organization? As it turns out, a lot.

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Leadership accountability

Leadership plays a big role in determining the success of an organization.

Effective and accountable leadership can help propel a company forward. On the flip side, a failure to live up to the expectations of leadership can have cascading and lingering effects across an entire organization.

Bridging the Leadership Accountability Gap

Today’s infographic, from bestselling author Vince Molinaro, is a revealing look at the impact that leadership accountability can have on an organization.

Leadership Accountability

Pre-order Vince Molinaro’s new book, Accountable Leaders

The Value of Leadership Accountability

The majority of people within organizations understand the value of leadership accountability – yet, in practice, many leaders fail to deliver on that promise.

A global survey of over 2,000 HR leaders and senior executives revealed that a mere 27% believed they had a strong leadership culture. Two-thirds of those surveyed believed that leadership accountability is a critical issue within their organization, while only one-third are satisfied with the degree of leadership accountability demonstrated at in their workplace.

What impact does this leadership accountability gap have on the performance of a company? As it turns out, a lot.

The Critical Link Between Accountability and Performance

Once survey responses were organized into three distinct categories – low performers, average performers, and industry leaders – interesting trends began to emerge.

Companies in the “industry leaders” category were far more likely to have a culture of leadership accountability. In fact, industry leaders were twice as likely to have clearly established expectations for their leadership team than respondents in the average or lower performing categories. These high performing companies were also far more likely to:

  • Have formal succession programs to help identify high-potential leaders
  • Have practices in place to foster more diverse leadership teams
  • Implement development programs to effectively build the capacity of leaders

Industry leading companies had leadership teams that ranked higher in a number of key areas. Leaders at high performing companies were far more likely to:

  • Understand customer needs and desires
  • Understand external trends affecting the business
  • Demonstrate a high level of emotional maturity
  • Demonstrate passion for executing on the company’s vision

In many of these areas, the gap between industry leaders and the other categories is significant, which presents a compelling case for embracing leadership accountability as a core value.

Building a Strong Leadership Culture: Questions to Ask

The first step to building a culture of leadership accountability is self reflection. Here are questions leaders can ask to help assess how their organization is doing:

  1. Is leadership accountability a critical priority in your organization?
  2. Has your organization set clear leadership expectations for leaders?
  3. Do you believe your leaders at all levels, are fully committed to their leadership roles?
  4. Have you built a strong and aligned leadership culture across your organization?
  5. Does your organization have the courage to identify and address mediocre leadership at an individual and team level?

Answering “no” to any of the questions above means there’s an opportunity to develop a more accountable and effective leadership team.

Only three things happen naturally in organizations. Friction, confusion and underperformance. Everything else requires leadership.

– Peter Drucker

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Business

The Habits of Highly Effective Leaders

This infographic delves into what it takes to become an effective leader, and how those qualities can impact a company—beyond employee satisfaction.

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How Strong Leadership Impacts the Bottom Line

Organizations of all shapes and sizes are under immense pressure to retain good talent.

High employee turnover can directly impact a company’s bottom line—with many studies suggesting poor leadership is one of the main causes.

Today’s infographic from Online PhD Degrees explores what it takes to be an strong leader, and the behaviors of poor leaders that should be avoided at all costs.

In today’s rapidly changing world, how can the qualities of a strong leader positively shape a company’s future?

The Benefits of Investing in Leadership

Effective leadership is worth its weight in gold, with 58% of employees claiming they would choose having a great boss over a higher salary.

Not only that, 94% of employees with great bosses feel passionate about their jobーnearly twice as many as those working for a bad boss. A strong leader increases employee loyalty, creating a conducive environment for reaching a company’s goals.

In fact, research shows that companies with strong leaders are crucial when it comes to outperforming industry competitors and are three times more prepared to react to the speed of change. Moreover, a company with a strong leader is almost five times more likely to have higher customer engagement and retention rates.

How to Lead Effectively

While each company has its own processes and demands different skill sets, there are core behaviors that separate leaders from managers:

  • Clear Purpose: Clearly articulating the company’s future vision to all levels of staff in a clear and concise way.
  • Contagious Passion: While managers light fires under people to motivate them, leaders light fires in people.
  • Self-Accountability: The expectation to work harder than employees and set a standard of excellence.
  • Flexible Determination: Leaders are agile and open to change.
  • Sustainable Outlook: Focusing on long-term goals proves to a team that a leader is invested in the long-haul.
  • Dual Focus: Beyond thinking big picture, leaders provide employees with a clear and actionable strategy for success.
    • Effective leaders are born from this combination of behaviors. However, one of them has the farthest-reaching impact, both on employees and a company’s bottom line: purpose.

      Purpose and Performance

      The Global Leadership Forecast finds that a strong and well-executed purpose can build organizational resilience and improve long-term financial performance.

      effective leadership purpose

      Leaders who amplify an organization’s purpose create a culture of optimism where employees feel safe in proposing new ideas that will shape the trajectory of a company.

      The Future of Leadership

      To stay competitive, continuous learning and re-skilling should be at the heart of every organization’s leadership strategy. Leaders of the future should possess the ability to redesign jobs in a more fluid way and lean in to the changing nature of work.

      “If we don’t disrupt our business, somebody else is going to do it for us.”

      —McKinsey Analysts

      While management is a foundational skill, organizations need to invest in their leaders to ensure constant growth. Embracing the traits of an effective leader can not only provide improved returns—it also empowers organizations to thrive in an uncertain future.

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