[April 04, 2014] Senior executive leaders know that accountability is something that is required of them and also know it is one of those traits that runs against our natural tendencies. Accepting responsibility for the actions of others, in particular poor actions of others, is a leader feature that sets them apart from others.
All leaders are accountable for those who work for them within their organization. Senior leaders take accountability to a higher level. Senior leader accountability means also being responsible for the impact of things that take place outside their organization.
Major unexpected outside events are difficult to predict but senior leaders must plan for them for added robustness in their organization. In the business world we have competitors, in the military there are armed enemies … all that think and act against our best interests. Senior leader accountability takes this into consideration when leading our organizations.
President Harry Truman had a sign on his Oval Office desk that read “The Buck Stops Here.”1 He understood that there were no excuses or justifications for failure and that it was unacceptable to pass responsibility to others. To him, failure was not an option. But if it did happen, he alone was to blame and he personally bare all the consequences.
This allows for a creating and sustaining a positive culture of work effort, performance, and operational excellence.
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 President Truman’s sign has been on display in Missouri at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum since 1957: http://www.trumanlibrary.org/buckstop.htm