Effective leadership can be the defining factor determining business success or failure during a crisis. Those who hold leadership positions have the most power in their organization. So, it stands to reason that they exert heavy influence on the direction of the company, employee relations and productivity.

Employees who work for exemplary leaders will feel more motivated, more supported and more secure – even when they find themselves in a topsy-turvy situation. Good leadership is the stabilizing force and the foundation of any successful company.

Leadership must demonstrate accountability to make this scenario a reality during tumultuous times. But what does accountability mean in this context, exactly? When it comes to leading well, taking accountability is not as simple as admitting to wrongdoing or making a mistake.

What characteristics do accountable leaders display?

Smart Optimism 

It can appear impossible to see the bright side when disaster seems imminent or perhaps it has already struck. However, one trait of leadership accountability is actively expressing a sense of optimism about the company’s present status and future.

It does not end there. Leadership must truly believe in the promise of better times. People’s brains are fine-tuned to detect a lack of authenticity. Employees will pick up on pretenses and it will alert them that something is off, fostering a sense of distrust towards leadership.

Willingness to Make Mistakes 

No one is perfect – not even the greatest leaders in the world. Leaders cannot allow the fear of failure to stop them from acting and making decisions. That said, a certain amount of thought and planning should occur during the process. However, this process should not become drawn out or riddled with indecisiveness and second-guessing. Good leaders feel confident in their expertise, insight and experience.

Clarify Expectations 

Employees will have a hard time performing up to standards if these standards are not made clear. Leadership should lay out expectations and establish clear measurements for determining whether employees meet them. A formal process will go a long way in holding both leadership and employees accountable. Furthermore, it will increase the chances that employees meet, and even exceed expectations.

Communicate About Everything 

Too much communication is never enough during uncertain times. A lack of communication can lead to misperceptions and rumors that can easily corrode an organization from the inside out. Leadership should keep in mind that cracks become craters – and strive to fix the cracks through regular, open, honest and crystal-clear communication. The onus is on leadership to establish, execute and enforce communication plans.

Manage Negative Emotions 

While employees are primarily responsible for their own emotional state, leadership is responsible for that of their employees and their own. If leadership falls apart or loses their temper, employees will develop a subconscious belief that it is acceptable for them to behave in the same manner.

Letting negative emotions spiral out of control is a recipe for business disaster, especially during a crisis. With so many challenges from the crisis threatening to sideline productivity, emotions like anger, anxiety or resentment that are left unchecked can become the nail in the proverbial coffin. Leadership can prevent this threat from manifesting by proactively mitigating and managing these emotions.

Accountability often gets overlooked, but in fact, it is one of the most valuable traits for leadership to display during uncertain times. Doing so will allow leaders to steer their business through the tidal wave of crisis to dock in a safe harbor.

Uncertain times call for creative thinking. Contact Gavel International to be inspired with solutions that connect and engage your people. 




Jim Bozzelli