Accountable Leadership With Vince Molinaro

AL 14 | Accountable Leadership

The current COVID-19 situation has made leadership even more crucial. Right now, leaders are under a microscope that shows how well or bad they are at responding to what is happening. As such, what is highlighted in the kind of leadership that we all need, and has been missing for some time, is an accountable one. In this episode, Alicia Dunams sits down with New York Times bestselling author of The Leadership Contract, Vince Molinaro, to talk about his new book entitled Accountable Leaders. He discusses what is going on in leadership right now, how leaders are showing up for their people, and what the future of the workplace looks like. Giving tips from his book, Vince then lays down the skills leaders need to possess to up their leadership game—one that inspires a culture where everyone steps up, takes ownership, and delivers results.

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Accountable Leadership With Vince Molinaro

Introducing New York Times bestselling author, Vince Molinaro. We will be talking about Accountable Leaders: Inspire a Culture Where Everyone Steps Up, Takes Ownership, and Delivers Results. Welcome, Vince. How are you?
I’m great. Thanks for having me, Alicia.
First of all, let’s give the audience some context. Where are you and how are you doing?
I’m good. I’m at home, outside of Toronto, Canada. The five of us, my wife and three kids have been home. Everyone is figuring out their way in this world. That’s what we’re doing. We’re the fortunate ones. We’re doing okay and trying to take care of as many people as we can emotionally at this moment in time.
I appreciate you giving us that context and where you are. I know we have a couple of books that we can talk about. You are a New York Times bestseller of The Leadership Contract. You have a new book, Accountable Leaders. I have a question for you. Why are you writing books? Tell us about that first.
I’ve always written. I started my career early on. At 27, I started my own business. At the time, I was a career counselor and I would write articles for a local community paper and that got me into the writing. All of my graduate work and research, that forces me to write. That was something that I enjoy doing as much as anyone enjoys writing. I found that it connected with people and they liked the idea. It was something that I’ve always done. I’ve written well-over 300 to 400 blogs over the years. This would be two books co-written and the third one on my own, five books in total. I’ve always got 2 or 3 bouncing around in my head.
Let’s talk about that because a lot of my audiences are people who are aspiring authors, who have a lot of books bouncing in their head. What advice you would give to someone on how to take it from what’s up here to get it on the paper and Amazon?
I don’t know if I have any mysterious or magical formula that works. I find writing is about discipline. Everyone needs to find their own discipline. As I’ve talked to a lot of authors and writers, some have to write a certain quote of words every day. Others wait for inspiration. You’ve got to find what formula works for you. For me, it’s about intense periods of time where I can focus. Most of the work is the upfront piece of saying, “What’s in my head? How do I map that out into some structure?” You start writing and you don’t worry about it being any good because you deal with a lot of words before you get into something that’s somewhat meaningful and valuable to people.
I find that I am always testing out ideas as well. I’ll be having a meeting with a client or a senior leader that I work with. I’ll say, “I’m thinking about this.” I am gauging their reaction as well. Those are some things that I’ve done. I find it’s about discipline. It’s about getting yourself in front of that laptop and cranking stuff out and not worrying too much about whether it’s good or not. The rewriting is where it becomes critical.
Every leader is currently in a microscope that shows how they are responding to the situation. Click To Tweet
That’s great advice. Discipline is where it starts with. Thank you for that, Vince. Let’s talk about Accountable Leaders. I would love to hear your thoughts on leadership and in the context of the here and now. Speak into what you’re seeing from a client and global perspective. What’s going on in terms of leadership? Are people showing up?
It’s a phenomenal time to be someone like me, someone who’s in the leadership space, who has been a leadership advisor, who has researched and written about leadership and has also had a senior level in global executive roles in terms of being a leader. I would have to say that in the last several years, it’s been a fascinating time, even before COVID hit. I’ve done a lot of global travel, 25 countries and 80 cities over the last several years. I had this uncanny good fortune of landing in a country that was in the midst of a significant local leadership story breaking out in real-time.
One time, I landed on a Sunday morning in Sao Paulo, Brazil, making my way into the downtown area to my hotel only to connect with a colleague who warned me of the protests that were happening in real-time. Only did I find out afterward as I googled on my phone what she was talking about. That was the day that 5 million Brazilians took to the streets to protest their corruption in government. I was there that week to talk about leadership and it was the only thing anybody wanted to talk about. It didn’t matter where I was traveling, the same pattern was emerging.
Even before COVID, leadership was front and center of the dialogue. People were looking at a great leader like Jacinda Arden of New Zealand when she responded to the terrorist attacks in her country. People said, “Look at how she brought a country together and help them grieve and cope, but did it with fierce resolve and compassion and now seen as one of the best leaders on the planet.” As I look at what’s happening, every leader is in a microscope, whether it’s a political or a corporate leader on how they are responding at this. It’s been a bit overused, but it is an unprecedented time.
Everybody knows deep down inside when a leader is stepping up and when a leader isn’t stepping up. The funny thing is that’s always been the core of my work because what I have found is I work with companies when they’re at a critical inflection point where they need their leaders to step up in a significant way to execute a new strategy to come together post the merger and acquisition. That’s always been the work I’ve done. The best work I’ve done is helping companies at those moments. Here we are as a planet going through a significant inflection point. What leadership looks like, our tolerance for mediocrity and bad leadership is quite low. What a time to be in this business.
The bar has been lowered. I appreciate what you’re saying that true leaders are tested in stress points. Even before COVID, we’ve been under stress points. An article came out that an Amazon executive quit and called Amazon chicken crap. Jeff Bezos’ net worth has increased since COVID because of the amount of people purchasing online. There started to be some gathering of protestors. Employees who are looking for a safe workplace and well-being. I like for you to talk into that in particular because there are many we can pull from. In that particular situation, when employees are starting to galvanize for rights, what would a leader do in that case? What would your suggestion be to Jeff Bezos and the leadership team of Amazon?
In many ways, it’s not unlike when a company does an employee engagement survey and employees are sending messages. I’ve experienced that over my career, one client in particular where I saw the data and I said, “You should be paying attention to the messages coming through here.” The senior leaders didn’t heed that message. All of a sudden, a union was able to come in and set up shop, and then they scrambled. Not that I want to say, “I told you so,” but I said, “Remember we had this conversation?” That would be the same advice. If people are mobilizing, there is something fundamental that’s causing them to come together that Mr. Bezos has to pay attention to. You can imagine the company is being relied on globally to support people at this critical time. How that’s being done has to be taken advantage of. You can’t dismiss that because there will be ramifications of this moving forward.
Public health and people safety are paramount obligations of leaders, not just at this time, but at any time. Click To Tweet
What you have to do is ensure that employee safety is of utmost importance. Maybe this is an opportunity for the company to set the benchmark on how to create a safe environment where employees feel they can come to work and do meaningful work at this critical time. Add value, but not feel like they’re putting their lives on the line unnecessarily. That would be it. Don’t dismiss it because it can definitely run away from you and then you’ve got a different problem when the negative spiral starts taking hold. I would say that’s the pivotal piece. There could be a price paid down the road or even in the short term.
The lesson learned is not to dismiss the messages that you’re receiving.
The hindsight is 20/20. You can only make sense and make meaning of the situation when you look back at it. It’s hard in the middle of this to make sense of things. Already there’s a storyline emerging that a lot of countries, probably most countries, didn’t take the warnings of our global pandemic seriously. Many didn’t move quickly enough. Lives were lost. The brutal disruption took place. That’s going to be a lesson already that we’re hearing. We have to be clear with ourselves as leaders around, what do we value? Do we put public health and people safety as a paramount obligation of leaders, not just at this time but at any time? That is something we all need to be asking ourselves. A real tough gut-check question at this moment in time.
That’s your blog.
That’s why I call it that because that’s ultimately what it is. We’ve got to be big enough people if we’re in leadership roles to ask ourselves and not shy away from the tough questions that we have to ask ourselves. If your employees or your stakeholders or the media are asking you the questions before you are, then you’ve missed something, in my opinion.
That’s powerful because leadership is intuitive. We do know the answers if we’re quiet enough to listen.

AL 14 | Accountable Leadership
The Leadership Contract: The Fine Print to Becoming an Accountable Leader

As I’ve traveled, I’ve asked people, “Describe the culture that would enable you to be your best. Describe the characteristics of a leader you want to be led by.” It is remarkable no matter where I’ve collected those answers. Whether it’s been in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Europe, North America, the answers are consistent. As humans, we know the work environments we want that would enable us to be our best. We know what leaders we want to work with and the ones we want to shy away from or run away from in many ways. There is an intuitive element to that.
That leads us to the next question in terms of the future of the workplace. I do a lot of work with women leaders. I’m hearing from my clients and colleagues, “I like working at home. I don’t want to go back. I’m more productive at home.” How are we going to reconcile when there is the reopening, which a lot of people are seemingly interested in happening. Some people are like, “I like this. I’m staying at home because I’m getting more work done. I get to cook dinner for my kids.” What are your thoughts? What’s the future of the workplace now that people have had a taste of what it looks like to work from home?
Given the work I’ve done and the travel I’ve done, I’ve learned to work almost anywhere. My perspective is a little more skewed that way because I had seen the benefits of it. Also, it’s not a panacea as well. You’re working from home. It’s hard work and there’s a lot of self-management that’s required. That’s the question I’m asking myself. I’m curious as we reenter or as we reopen the decisions that people will be making at a personal level. I’ll give you a quick example. I’ve been dealing with aging parents’ issues. I went to drop off some food at my mom’s place. In normal times, that’s about a 30-minute drive. In COVID times, it’s about a 15 or a 20-minute drive.
On my way back home, this bridge that I had to cross, a four-lane bridge, three lanes were shut down for construction. What should have been a 15 or 20-minute drive, turned out to be a 90-minute drive. There I was stuck in traffic, which I hadn’t been in traffic like that for months. All these old feelings came back and I asked myself, “Why would we go back to this?” We’re all going to be asking ourselves that question in a number of different ways. When we’re on that commuter train and jammed into that subway, if that’s going to happen in the next foreseeable future. If we’re going to an office and rushing to get back home to make meals for kids, we’ll all be asking ourselves in subtle ways and many direct ways, “Why would I do that?”
As humans, we want to go back to normal because that’s what we have known. Part of me thinks, “If we go through all of this and all we do is go back to normal, there would have been a missed opportunity.” It will be employees and people saying, “I’m going to work from home two days a week. I’m going to minimize my commute time. Life’s too short. I like being able to hear the birds. I like things being a bit quieter.” I don’t necessarily have the answer on what’s going to play out. I don’t know if anybody does know. It’ll come down to us as individuals saying, “I got a taste of something, working from home, more time with my family, baking bread, making meals. Whatever it is, I want more of that. I don’t want to lose that.” That’s where some changes are going to start happening.
I’ve been a business owner for eighteen years and there’s no coincidence that my daughter is eighteen years old. I chose to stay at home with her. It was late nights. I remember one time I was working and I had a technical writing business in Sacramento, California years ago. I remember I would work at night. One time I looked over and she had crawled out of bed. I was like, “This is my time. Don’t get on my schedule.” I’ve had my own business. I’ve worked for myself for years. This is my life. I know this is not always applicable. I was fortunate enough to have the choice and I worked hard at it. I want to design my ideal 24 hours and I’m going to design my work around it.
That took courage for you to do that. Even if you go back, it was not a typical route and path. That requires courage. For many of us, that will be the case too. It’ll take courage to say, “I had a sense of something different at this critical time in history. I don’t want to lose that moving forward.” It’ll take some courage for people to challenge the status quo, their managers, and themselves to not lose sight of that. If we go back to a world where we’re all stressed out, we’re working 80 hours a week, we’re commuting for twenty hours a week, that will be the moment for us to make those decisions.
A lot of people take on a leadership role without really understanding what it means to be a leader. Click To Tweet
My personal story, I do leadership training and I was flying around doing some training. I came back from Washington DC and this company I work with, they said, “You’re going to Washington State.” I said, “I’m not going to Washington State. It’s the middle of the COVID. There is this thing called Zoom. I can create the same engagement and training on Zoom as me getting on a plane.” It was funny. That conversation I had with this organization spurned everything and hit the fan the next week because they saw it was no longer viable to send out trainers. I was training them on Zoom because I’ve been using it for such a long time. This is part of my platform and my business. Whole industries have changed due to this and we are more agile.
That’s the positive benefit of this. We also need to support people because I don’t think everyone makes that leap right away. This creates the opportunity for us to rethink a number of things that we’ve held onto or have done in a particular way. Certainly, that’s what I’m doing with my own business, which is on the consulting side. This is how I’ve done that work. Is there a way to do that work even more virtually? It’s an opportunity to rethink a number of things that we’ve done. Through it, find a way to create even greater value for the people we serve, whether it’s your customers, communities, stakeholders, whomever.
Let’s talk about Accountable Leaders. I’d love for you to give us some leadership tips, perhaps things that you’ve seen leadership in the future to support our audience and learn how they can up their leadership game. What’s available for them from you? Straight from your mouth.
Accountable Leaders is an extension of the work I started in 2013 when the leadership contract came out. The reason I wrote that book, as we got out of the great global financial crisis, we saw companies reinvesting in leadership development. What I found many of them saying is, “We’re investing in coaches. We’ve got mentoring programs. We’re partnering with business schools for leadership development programs. We’re doing all the right things, but we’re not seeing it translate into better and stronger leadership.” That became a new problem. I remember the first time I heard that. It was the head of organizational development in HR with a financial services company. She was quite frustrated in the conversations because she was a bit bewildered, “We’re doing all the right things, but we’re not seeing it translate. It’s like they don’t understand what it means to be a leader.”
When you do the work that we do when we serve many organizations and I found this over my career, once you see a new problem, all of a sudden you see that same problem crop up among other clients. That’s what ended up happening. I said, “There’s something happening here that I’ve got to dig into.” As I started digging into it and looking into it, I said, “What’s missing in leadership?” As my editor, John Wiley & Sons says, “Next to cookbooks and romance, leadership is probably the most published area.” Everyone writes a leadership book. It’s not like we have a shortage of ideas. There are great books out there written by a lot of great people.
What’s missing is that a lot of people take on a leadership role without understanding what it means to be a leader. They invariably don’t appreciate that. As humans, we expect a lot from people in leadership roles. We hold them to a higher standard of behavior. When they live up to that standard, we adore them and we want to emulate them. When they let us down, we can get frustrated and downright angry and disgusted in their behavior. To me, that implies that there’s a contract. Whenever anyone takes on a leadership role, they’ve signed up for something significant. We’ve never been explicit with leaders to say that. When you ask leaders, as I’ve done around the world, “How did you first get into a managerial or leadership role?” The number one answer is, “I got in by accident. I was good at something. I was the best salesperson, the best engineer, the best analyst, the best accountant. I was the best teacher. I was the best nurse.” It doesn’t matter what the technical area or the profession is. When you excel at that, your performance stands out above everyone else’s.

AL 14 | Accountable Leadership
Accountable Leadership: If people are mobilizing, then there is something really fundamental that’s causing them to come together that you have to pay attention.

We’ve gone to those great technical performances and say, “If you’re good at this, we’re going to give you a group of people to manage. Good luck with that. There is no support and no development.” You’re figuring it out. The analogy I use in the leadership contract is we have not treated this like a contract that’s on paper that you read and sign. We’ve treated it like an online contract. You’re online conducting a transaction. The contract comes up and you’re downloading software or something. What do you do? I scroll down right to the bottom. I click agree. I move on with my day. I’m not sure what I’m bound to. I know I’m bound to something, but I have no real idea. I’ve always got this fear in the back of my mind that one day Apple or Microsoft or Amazon is going to come to my front door and take away my three kids and my dog because I didn’t read something in the online contract. That’s the idea.
The ideas of the leadership contract immediately resonated and it showed to me that something was clicking. We started sharing those ideas around the world with good success and then the client said, “We need our leaders to not only hold themselves accountable. We need them to hold others accountable and their teams accountable. You’re not good at that.” We need them to work together with other leaders in the organization to create a strong leadership culture where every leader steps up so we can create a great leadership experience for our employees. That’s where Accountable Leaders became an extension. I wrote The Leadership Contract Field Guide that was the companion workbook to that book and then I wrote Accountable Leaders. I didn’t realize that that’s what I would end up doing when I started, but I have what I call a nonfiction trilogy on my hands.
Before we jump in a little bit more about Accountable Leaders, I’m curious about The Leadership Contract. What are some of the line items on this contract?
It comes down to five ideas. The first one is that there is a contract. Whether you are aware of it or not, when you took on a leadership role at any point in your career, you signed up for something important. It’s not a contract signed once. Every time you take on a more senior role, you’ve got to pause and reflect, “What are the expectations? What does the role demand of me? Am I prepared to be the best leader that I can be?” It’s like any contract that comes with four terms and conditions. The first is a deliberate decision you have to make and that you have to know yourself well enough and have the courage to say, “If leadership is not your thing, saying no is a good decision.” If you say yes to it, then you’ve got to be fully committed to being accountable and setting the tone for everyone.
Why does accountability become important? Through the years, my teams and I got hired to help companies build leaders and develop leaders as fast as possible to help them meet a major strategic imperative. When I sat there, I said, “What is it that’s going to get leaders to be the most effective they can be in the quickest?” The literature out there will say, “It’s about authenticity. We need leaders who are storytellers.” That’s maybe part of it. There are all these ideas out there. At the end of the day, what I have found is that accountability is what differentiates great leaders from mediocre ones. We can all be accountable. We may not all be Martin Luther King Jr. but we can be better every single day if we set the tone of accountability. If leaders don’t set the tone of accountability, there’s no hope for anyone else to. What do we do? We look to our leaders for the tone that they set and the pace that they set.
Whenever anyone takes on a leadership role, they've signed up for something really significant. Click To Tweet
The decision, that’s the first term. The second term is it comes with an obligation. It’s not about you. It’s not about your ego. It’s not about how this senior executive, vice president role is the next stepping stone in your career to the C-suite. It’s none of that. Who are there to create value for? It’s your customers, your employees, your stakeholders, the communities in which you do business. Number three, the third term says, “Leadership is a lot of hard work and you need the resilience and resolve to tackle it.” It is surprising to me how many leaders take on a leadership role and then wimp out on all the hard work they must do, particularly around the people issues. They don’t give candid feedback. They don’t manage poor performers. They are afraid to make an unpopular decision, which is a good business decision but maybe unpopular to their employees because they want to be liked. If you have a desire to be liked as a person, you shouldn’t get into a leadership role.
The fourth is that leadership is a community and you have to work together with leaders because it’s no longer the model of one leader having all the answers. It’s about us figuring out how we amplify the leadership of everyone to drive success. That is a little bit of what leadership looks like in the future. I’m positioning that. Accountable Leaders says, “You’ve got to do all those four things individually, but you’ve got to do that with your team and you got to do that with your colleagues.” That’s a big chunk of the book. The book wraps up with if you are a director on a board, CEO, head of HR or CHR or a senior executive, you have to do those things but you also have the obligation to put things in place organizationally to support leaders. Those four terms play out organizationally. The book talks about how that’s been done, how other companies have done it, how leaders have done it and illustrate that. At the end of the day, accountability is what differentiates great leaders from mediocre ones. There’s considerable research that I’ve done over the years on all those elements, the personnel, the team, and the cultural level. That’s also covered in the book.
What is your definition of accountability? How is that different from responsibility? Define that for the audience.
I use the term leadership accountability to denote an individual in a leadership role who assumes personal ownership for their role, who has the courage to do the difficult things that we must do of leaders. Jack Ma of Alibaba has a great line, he says, “If you want your life to be simple, don’t be a leader.” It’s surprising how many people go into leadership roles and they’re like, “You want me to do that? I’m supposed to do that.” “Yes, that’s why you’re in the role. Roll up your sleeves. Get together with your colleagues and help us solve some of these fundamental problems.” It’s that ownership, courage and resolve that you need to drive change in an organization. At this moment in time, we’re hearing a lot about the need for people and leaders to have resilience. Resilience is important. What we’re also going to need is a healthy dose of resolve, that fierce determination to see us through this period of time. Whether it’s going to last three months or three years, we don’t know that.
That’s powerful, what you shared in terms of leadership and the importance of managing people and as you speak into the future of the workplace and the future of leaders. A quick question, have you seen the documentary, American Factory?
I don’t think I have. I’m confusing it with Manufactured Landscapes. I saw that documentary. What is this one about?

AL 14 | Accountable Leadership
Accountable Leadership: As humans, we expect a lot from people in leadership roles. We hold them to a higher standard of behavior, and when they live up to that standard, we adore them and want to emulate them.

It’s produced by Obamas. It was the first documentary produced for Netflix. It’s about a Chinese company that comes over in America to develop a factory. That’s why it’s called the American Factory. The particular issues, the cross-cultural issues, the human resource, the people management, the leadership issues that come up. One thing that was startling was 375 million jobs in the future will be automated worldwide. Does that sound about right?
It’s a big number.
These people skills, these leadership skills, accountability, vulnerability, all the variety of different abilities that leaders get to master is what’s going to differentiate us between a job that can be eventually automated. When I teach my leadership training, which is usually around conscious communication and inclusion, unconscious bias. I do a variety of different leadership training and storytelling. These are the skills that are going to differentiate us from robots and managing people. Being a leader is part of that. I’m curious about your thoughts on that.
When I first started my business, I was 27 and I began as a career counselor. I started my business in the middle of a recession not knowing any difference and helping my clients deal with career ranks at that time. At that time, it was around automation in factories that would displace jobs. A book is called, The End of Work. A number of the similar themes that we’re talking about were being talked about then. Some of that materialized and a lot of it didn’t. That’s where we probably got to think about this. There are transformative technologies that will disrupt things as they are. I’m all for automating mindless, mind-numbing work that human beings maybe should have never been doing. If we can free up the creative spirit that’s inherent in every person, then I’m all for that. If automation can do it better and cheaper, that’s a good thing from my perspective. You’ve got to say, “What then is this more creative, inspirational work? How do you lead people in that way?” That becomes a question we’ve got to ask ourselves at this moment in time.
I love that, creative and inspirational work, and unleashing that. As humans, that’s our next level. I’m all about getting rid of the mindless stuff. It’s a great time to witness the evolution of how humans work and a big part of that is leadership. How you manage others, connect speak, and communicate with others.
If leadership is not your thing, saying no is actually a good decision. Click To Tweet
It was interesting because as someone like me in the leadership area, as COVID overtook the world, it completely changed how you even talk about leadership. You can’t talk about it like you did. As I was looking at some of the work in my new book, I was reaching out to my clients and other senior executives in my network about how they were coping with what was happening. Many who knew about The Leadership Contract at my work said, “The Leadership Contract, leadership accountability, do you think that idea is still relevant?” I said, “What do you think?” They said, “It’s even more relevant.” We need leaders to be accountable. Our virtual world means leadership is a different endeavor where you need to trust employees that they’re going to perform and you can’t see them in ways that you may have if you were on a shop floor or in an office. That changes dramatically.
I had a chapter looking at what are going to be the five big drivers we’ll have to pay attention to. The first, as we talked, was about the transformative technologies. The second was around the geopolitical instability that my research was showing was going to be another factor. The other one was around the reinvention of work. What does work mean in our society? The next one is we got to deliver on diversity and inclusion. We have to figure that out once and for all. We can’t keep talking about it and keep doing studies that keep telling us the same thing over and over again. Let’s fix that once and for all. The fifth one is we have an opportunity to repurpose. What is the purpose of a corporation on this planet? I thought, “Are any of my ideas even relevant anymore in a COVID and the potentially post-COVID world?” I took that chapter and I said, “The transformative technologies play out.” Luckily, we’ve got Zoom and MS Teams, and all of these technologies that have enabled us to work from home and work in new ways. That’s valuable.
COVID is a completely geopolitical issue. If you think about how it’s played out, we need to understand that a little better. It’s accelerating some of the trends that were already happening around how work was being reinvented. It’s a complete diversity and inclusion issue because COVID is showing us the difference between the haves and the have-nots in a dramatic way. We’ve got to address that. We’re seeing the organizations that are stepping up in amazing times to do some great things for society. Others are choosing to remain in a win-lose type of scenario. I thought, “Those things still are valid.”
That was a nice wrap up that you shared in terms of that. The final question because we’ve been talking about leadership and you even mentioned the prime minister of New Zealand. Who are a few people that are showing up at this time in terms of leadership?
Some of the research has shown a few publications around. Look at some of the women leaders, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Germany and South Korea. We’ve got to think, “Is it about women? Is it about men?” The reality is they are doing phenomenal things and we need more of that, whether it’s a female leader or a male leader. If there’s something to learn from what they’re doing, then we should be adopting that and learning from their example. That’s exciting to me.

AL 14 | Accountable Leadership
Accountable Leaders: Inspire a Culture Where Everyone Steps Up, Takes Ownership, and Delivers Results

It comes down to communication because what we saw in China and what the big snafu was at the beginning was the lack of transparency. That lack of transparency spilled over. I feel one thing that women are good at is communication and being transparent on what’s going on.
In all those cases, they’re also not afraid to be direct. That’s part of the transparency where you’re delivering the straight-up news to people. People may not agree but they at least respect that they can count on you for that, and that’s something. If I look at the governor of California, Gavin Newsom. He appears to be adopting many of those same things around the transparency, the frequency of communication. You look and go, “Someone is on this.” In times of crisis, we do look to our leaders for some reassurance, “We’re going to be okay.” That’s something critical.
I’m hearing from people in my network, it’s all over the map, in organizations where some people are saying, “I can’t believe how our CEO and executive team have come together. We’re feeling good about how we’re moving forward. We’ve got some challenges ahead as a business and we’ve got some tough decisions, but we’re feeling confident that this is the way forward.” Others are going, “They’re losing their minds. They’re on each other. It’s divisive and it’s clear that everyone is jumping ship.” You can imagine what it’s like to be in that environment and not feeling reassured and feeling unsettled and making what is already a stressful period even more stressful.
I wrote a book called Up Ended, an eBook, which was to think about The Leadership Contract through the lens. Any time you face a major period, whether it’s in history or a period in your career where you’re at an inflection point like we are as a planet, it’s a time to pause and think about your leadership. Are you all in? Are you fully committed to leading at this point? Are you hiding under a rock somewhere? What’s your primary obligation right now? What’s the hard work you have to do at this moment in time? Do you have the courage and fortitude to drive ahead? How can you build a community at this moment in time?
What’s been fascinating as well is that somehow, we’re not dealing with the reality of what things were like pre-COVID. All the research would suggest employee engagement wasn’t strong pre-COVID. Leadership was not great. No matter what research you look at, it wasn’t as great as we needed it to be. We’re going into it and that’s what I have found. The clients who I reached out to, said, “We are thankful that we did the work with you and your team. Our leaders are ready for this.” They’re talking with that level of confidence. If you didn’t invest in leadership development pre-COVID and your leaders are trying to deal with this, good luck. It’s tough. That’s the other thing. We’ve got to deal with that reality. That’s not a good message to be delivered. I don’t want to be insensitive at this moment in time, but those are facts that we all have to have to deal with. It’s an extraordinary time to be in the work that we do and to be able to support leaders at this key time.
Accountability is what ultimately differentiates great leaders from mediocre ones. Click To Tweet
Vince, thank you so much for sharing Accountable Leaders. How can people find out more about you, Vince?
LinkedIn, I’m on there. People can reach out there to connect with me. Also, the book will be coming out and available in bookstores. On Twitter, those are the places where they can find me and track me down.
We’ll be tracking you down on LinkedIn and purchasing the book. I’m excited. Thank you, Vince, for being here. Remember that Authoring Life is brought to you by Bestseller in a Weekend, Book Writing Intensive and The Book Funnel Done-For-You-Books. Thank you for tuning in. Stay tuned for next time. All the best.

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About Vince Molinaro

AL 14 | Accountable LeadershipVince Molinaro has dedicated his life to promoting both personal and organizational accountability in leadership cultures around the world. He experienced a defining moment early in his career when he saw a respected colleague and mentor succumb to a cancer she believed was the byproduct of a stressful, toxic work environment. As a result, Vince vowed to teach business leaders how to build successful organizations by increasing the accountability of their leaders.
Vince knows that leadership accountability is the key ingredient in building a strong, vibrant organizational culture. As a successful senior executive in one of the world’s top leadership development firms, Vince has made it his calling to confront weak and lame leadership. He shows leaders at all levels how to step up and fulfill their obligations and responsibilities as real leaders.
What sets Vince apart is that he’s no ivory-tower academic. As a forceful keynote speaker at conferences and corporate retreats, he translates first-hand experiences from the leadership trenches into practical advice on how leaders can confront and overcome their challenges and build strong leadership cultures.

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