5 Times Senior Leadership Isn’t Accountable

March 28, 2018
5 Times Senior Leadership Isn’t Accountable

Having a particular title in no way exempts someone from being accountable. For someone in senior leadership, it’s even more important to be accountable to expectations. Not only do decisions made by employees at this level effect more functions of the company, they set the standard for the more junior employees.

There may not be a distinct red flag when senior leadership isn’t being accountable. Accountability extends anywhere from culture and communication, to more behind-the-scenes work. Have you ever heard of the saying, “monkey-see, monkey-do?” That’s exactly the case with senior leadership and leading by example.

5 Times Senior Leadership Isn't Accountable

1. Cancel-Crazy:

Sometimes things come up and we have to decide the priority of everything on the table. One meeting may have to be sacrificed for the betterment of a high-priority item. This happens! However, canceling meetings for reasons that aren’t dire is an accountability issue.  At first it’s pushing back the weekly sales meeting a day. Then it’s canceling one-on-ones or constantly rescheduling phone calls until the deal is lost or ruined. A huge part of accountability is sticking to meetings, phone calls, and other commitments.

2. Failed Promises:

For senior leadership, it’s easy to make promises. The hard part is remembering these promises and following through with them. Maybe you offered coaching to a team member that was struggling with a specific client. Or maybe it was something as simple as reviewing a proposal for a sales rep. For a senior leader, these things may seem small. But for the person relying on them, they are very important. It’s crucial that senior leadership follow through with promises to promote a culture of trust and reliability.

3. New Initiatives:

We’ve all heard the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Make sure senior leadership is not acting like an old dog. Being accountable to new initiatives sets the best companies apart from the pack. This is what makes it possible to break into new territories, industries, and businesses. It’s important to not let great ideas fizzle away because senior leadership isn’t accountable to bringing them to fruition.

4. Letting People Slide:

What if someone is an absolutely KILLER sales rep? They’re bringing in the most revenue out of anyone else at the firm and are constantly adding new opportunities to the pipeline. Yet, they are constantly late, rude to other employees, don’t follow processes in CRM, and they don’t intend on changing their ways. It is senior leadership’s responsibility to make sure all employees are held to the same standards. A lot of times, when a top-performer doesn’t fit into the culture, they’re actually doing more damage than good. Their inability to work in a team setting inhibits the ability of others on the team. Senior leadership has to be accountable for the behavior of everyone they supervise, even the top-performers.

5. Hypocrisy:

This is the most detrimental accountability issue. In order to successfully run a team, senior leadership must do as they expect. If you expect your sales reps to be at their desks at 9 AM, you should also be at your desk at that time. If you want people to pay attention in meetings, make sure you’re not on your phone or laptop and that you’re giving your reps the time of day. It’s very easy to fall into bad habits when you don’t have a direct manager. Think of it as if your sales reps are your managers. You want to do good by them, so you must live up to your own expectations!

Accountability is easy to put on the back burner as you climb to senior leadership. Doing this doesn’t just hurt the person that is ignoring their expectations, it hurts the morale and trust of everyone beneath them.

These feelings lead to high turnover and a struggling sales force. Leadership accountability is crucial for a happy company culture.

Are you being accountable? If you’re a CEO, is your senior leadership team falling into any of these accountability bad habits? Let us know your problems in the comments, we’d be happy to help!

Free eBook: Accountability in Sales - A Guide for CEOs, Sales VPs, & Sales Managers on How to Guide Performance


  • Graham Cherrett - Reply

    I might be wrong, but shouldn’t the title to this article be: ‘5 Times Senior Leadership IS Accountable’? Just a thought.

    • Arianna Miskel - Reply

      Thanks for reading my post, Graham! It features examples when leadership fails to be accountable. We often write about what our readers should do, so this time, I wanted to focus on things they shouldn’t. Hope you enjoyed!

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