Episode #31: How Leaders Contribute to the Dysfunction of Accountability

Today, leaders complain about employees not being accountable for getting things done. But is it really the employee or is it the issue that leaders don’t hold themselves accountable for managing the performance of their direct reports? Our experience is that many leaders don’t define tasks in a clear manner, leaving employees lost and confused about their expectations. And they fail to follow up to see how the employee is doing, missing the opportunity to praise progress or course correct.

Leaders have this nasty habit of believing that employees are “mini-me’s,” joined at the brain, with the same attitudes, work ethic, experience and smarts they had when doing their job. This lets them off the hook for actually leading employee performance. This lack of accountability contributes to poor performance, high turnover, and employee disengagement. Leaders not being held to any expectations or having any leadership development are only a couple of reasons why they operate from outdated beliefs instead of meeting their employee’s needs during the performance development cycle, leading to this all too prevalent dysfunction.

In today’s episode, we discuss the Dysfunction of Accountability and share some practical tips that you can start using today if your organization is struggling with this Dysfunction. We’ll also share real client stories that illustrate just how common it is to find this type of leadership behavior in organizations today. Tune in to learn all about the Dysfunction of Accountability and discover what you can do if it’s suffocating your organization’s success.

If you want to know more about Anne & Heather’s work with dismantling dysfunctions in organizations and leadership behavior at Caliber Leadership Systems, check out:




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Are you dealing with an organizational dysfunction you need help with? Or do you have a story you would like to share on our show? Contact us at [email protected].



  • [01:25] Episode introduction and overview
  • [02:34] What is the Dysfunction of Accountability?
  • [05:57] Failure to set expectations
  • [11:08] Leaders not holding themselves accountable
  • [22:09] Abdicating responsibility
  • [28:40] Episode wrap up



  • The Dysfunction of Accountability stems from the failure of leaders to set expectations, give corrective feedback and poor or inconsistent communication. When leaders don’t believe they should manage performance or don’t prioritize it, they fail to hold themselves accountable for their commitment to their employees.
  • A lack of expectations and abdication from holding themselves and employees accountable has significant emotional and financial costs to people and the organization.
  • Leaders need to take a planful approach to developing their employees. They need to create an accountability framework, set expectations and manage performance.
  • Think you might be suffering from issues caused by the Dysfunction of Accountability in your workplace? Listen to the full episode to learn what you can do to start empowering yourself and fighting back against the Dysfunction of Accountability today!


"Deciding to compensate for poor performance instead of managing it is an act of self- disempowerment."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 3 - "Self-disempowerment starts from within. Leaders need to recognize when they are keeping their self-esteem low."
episode 18 - quote tile 4 - "Leaders need to watch that they aren't being pulled into the position  of rescuer when interacting with employees."

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