Accountability Earns Credibility

Logo1Politics aside … and leadership front row and center.

You probably heard that earlier this week President Obama asked for, and received, the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS.

Apparently the IRS leader was responsible for “putting extra scrutiny on Tea Party groups’ applications for tax-exempt status.” This is considered misconduct.

According to this USA article, President “Obama called the misconduct by IRS officials inexcusable.”

He also said, “It’s inexcusable and Americans are right to be angry about it and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but particularly the IRS given the power that it has and the reach that it has in all of our lives.”

Here are 3 – brief leadership lessons from this incident:

1. Treat all of your employees, customers and vendors with respect

2. Implement policies and procedures with consistency

3. Do not tolerate misconduct – accountability is critical to preserving credibility

The most challenging one for many leaders is ‘holding others accountable’ … yet it is extremely vital to preserving your own leadership. President Obama did good with this one.

Think about what would happen to your credibility if you looked the other way when someone in your organization was doing / saying something that was inconsistent with your stated values and / or principles.

If you’re not prepared to act, regardless of who the violator is, then your leadership is weakened … and everyone knows it.

As an example, I once had to let a senior member of my team go for deceit and terminated the employment of one of our best sales professionals for violation of our basic business values.

Due to the high profile of the individuals, they were both difficult dismissals. However, the action sent a signal to the rest of the organization that our values meant something, and no one was exempt from living them every day.

My leadership tip this week is to encourage you to take a tough stand on misconduct and integrity issues in your organization … hold people accountable.

How you ask? … Set realistic expectations … communicate them … live them … measure / monitor them. Now, if we could only get to the truth of Benghazi.

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