Are Leaders Held Accountable? 4 Things We Must Hold “Strategic Leaders” Accountable To Do

One of the most commonly used terms associated with performance management is “accountability”. Some think it may be a term that is overused. I don’t think the issue is that it is overused. However, I do think that there is an issue here… 

The issue that I have seen throughout my career is that it is under applied to the performance of leading. What do I mean?

Accountability is thought of in terms of doing – making a sale, closing the accounting books, assessing a patient, stocking a shelf, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. It is associated with doing a task day-in and day-out, as required by a job. Although there are some issues to be addressed here, in general, people get this aspect of accountability.

However, I believe the more significant issue exists in holding strategic leaders accountable for leading and managing. Accountability for strategic leaders is less about the tactical of doing and more about the abstract of leading and managing.

When someone becomes a manager, and what should be by default, a leader, for some reason accountability goes out the window. No one holds these people accountable for the requirements of being an effective leader. Leaders are still assessed based on what tasks they get done. This needs to change!

At Prism Partners International, we specifically address the competencies required from leaders in an organization – we refer to them as Strategic Leaders and Knowledge Leaders. We have defined competencies that we expect to see demonstrated by these leaders and we assess these leaders based on these competencies. This allows us to assess and hold leaders accountable for being either Strategic Leaders or Knowledge Leaders.

As it relates to Strategic Leaders, the following are the 4 things that we must hold our leaders accountable for as part of THEIR performance evaluation process:

  1. Change Management: Strategic leaders must be held accountable to develop the Strategy for the organization and evaluate and reinforce the Culture of the organization. This will inevitably require managing change over time, to ensure it is done thoughtfully and thoroughly.
  2. Communication: Strategic leaders must be effective and efficient communicators. They need to communicate upward, downward and across business lines to ensure that everyone understands what the organization is trying to accomplish. This will ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them and how their individual role aligns with the objectives of the organization.
  3. Collaboration: Strategic leaders need to bring people together, not divide them. This means having effective team building and negotiation skills, as well as being responsive to everyone – their teams, their peers and their managers.
  4. Team Development: Developing people is probably the most important skill that is required from a strategic leader. Current leaders need to develop the future leaders of the organization. Coaching, delegation and focusing on career progression are all critical to the success of a leader.

We can help you unlock the potential of your strategic leaders. Please contact us to learn how we can help. We also invite you to sign-up for our weekly blog posts at