Accountability Creates Dependency

I have an aversion to the word accountability.

In leadership accountability creates dependency.

I should not be dependent on anyone holding me accountable to dreams, visions or goals. That is my responsibility.

If I am dependent on someone else checking in with me to see what I am doing toward reaching my goals I should not be in a position of leadership.

If all I am doing as a leader is holding people accountable to getting the things done that they set out to do then a software program can replace me. (

When we hold people accountable we are inadvertently making them victims who are dependent on us in order to get anything done. That is not what is best for them or your organization. You may see short term results but you will never become what you are capable of becoming.


When you hold unmotivated people accountable you enable them to continue to be unmotivated.


When hold highly motivated people accountable your squelch them and frustrate them. 


Neither option is good in the long run.


Resist the temptation to play a role that an algorithm is better at than you anyway. 

2 Responses to Accountability Creates Dependency

  1. Taylor Balis November 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    I really loved this post. It really challenged my thinking about accountability. I have never ever thought of accountability in that way and it totally made sense to me. Thank you!

  2. jonhoughton November 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    Thanks for your note Taylor. We are rarely asked to think about it this way. We accept accountability as leadership even though we don’t like being on either end of it and rarely find it helpful on either end of the equation.

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