I was simply thinking about what questions people ask themselves when they think of responsibility, accountability and liability. (“What powerful words these are,” said the big, bad wolf.)
Responsibility: the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.
Accountability: the fact or condition of being accountable; responsible.
Liability: the state of being liable and/ or obligated to something.
These are very real attributes that leaders must develop and manage every day if they are truly going to lead in an influential and courageous way. Many organizations put the expectation of inclusive leadership on influencers without understanding how they view responsibility and deal with accountability, and then the organizations wonder how they end up with people who take a pass on the liability.
Let’s be clear and understand that accountability is driven by personal responsibility. According to the journal of psychology, specifically referring to motivational behavior, incentives that are intentionally designed to encourage change or modify behavior must become habitual. So when organizations design reward and compensation systems to influence behavior to create more inclusive leaders, we must ask ourselves if the reward is adequate to motivate the desired behavior…and, if it doesn’t, then what should be done?
I would like to share some insights with you from DMBA 2015 Inclusive Leadership Index about what accountability incentives are in place to drive inclusive leadership:
- 85 percent of companies have accountability metrics at the business unit level;
- 30 percent of companies have incentives in employees annual review process;
- 21 percent of companies advocate recognition as the best incentive to drive achievement;
- 35 percent of companies have bonus level incentives for inclusive behavior and performance.
So if our business world finds it practical and sensible to align accountability performance metrics to leaders’ behavior for creating inclusive cultures, then what lessons can our society learn about aligning accountability metrics to social justice? These lessons could, perhaps, result in us all being responsible for our actions.