Tuesday, June 7, 2011


This is my first post in several months. I have been preparing to retire from the Navy at the end of this month. I very much appreciated all of the emails and messages asking when I was going to post again. I am hoping to gradually get my posting schedule back to a daily status. I hope you enjoy my blog and will continue to support it. Thanks!

The media has been full of incidents where leaders have made poor decisions. The disturbing thing to me is that these so called, leaders, have acted like they cannot accept responsibility for their actions. They instead try to re-direct their actions, blame others, or act as if they have no knowledge of the events. I've spoken several times on this blog about social media and the dangers of using it improperly. Whether it be sending inappropriate pictures via twitter, or posting pictures of your spring break party on Facebook. You have to understand that you are under a microscope as a leader. Especially if you are an elected official.

What do you do if you discover that you've made a mistake or shown bad judgement?

  1. Accountability: You must hold yourself accountable, just as you would one of your employees. If you cannot, then don't expect your employees to respect or work for you.
  2. Responsibility: Acknowledge your mistake. Do not try and hide it or blame it on someone or something else. It shows much more character when you acknowledge your mistakes, then it does to lie about or try and cover them up. It also shows your employees that it's OK to make a mistake. 
  3. Learn from it: To me this is one of the greatest tools that a mistake or bad judgement can give you. Learn from it, understand why you made the decision you did. Understand how you could have made a better decision. 
  4. Take action: Once you have learned from your poor decision making, take the appropriate steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again. Whether it is not hitting the, "Send" button or defending your incorrect understanding of American history. 
I understand that it's easy to look in on someone else and say, "Just take responsibility for your actions" I have made my share of mistakes as a leader, and on a personal level. I have always made a point to take responsibility for my actions, hold my self accountable and to try and learn from it. It's not fun, it's embarrassing and can cause pain to others. In the long run though, it causes growth and stronger relationships. More importantly, it creates better, human, leaders. 

Why is it important to have accountability as a Leader? Does it show strength or weakness? Why or why not?


John Howard Hatfield said...

Good post. I am a firm believer in the power of the TRUTH. Past integrity, the realm of accountability and responsibility are as important as anything else. There is no way worse to loose the following any leader might have than to be caught in a LIE. This doesn't mean to tell a lie that you can't possibly get caught in either. It means don't lie no matter the occasion - NEVER. It will do no one one bit of good and will make the liar less than human.

leadership training said...

I agree with John's view above. However,from where I come from (Singapore) most leaders are robots and can they be truly human while leaders at the same time? Unfortunately, we have a long way to go. Thank you for the post. Please continue to post, I've found your blog very interesting.

One Third More said...

Thanks for this post. All too often, leaders get away with less than honourable motives and actions because they can hide behind bureaucracy. Truly disgusting.

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