Navigating Uncertainty: Leadership Accountability in Times of Crisis

by visualcapitalist

leadership accountability in times of crisis

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.