Independent Thinking Blog

Are Companies Confusing Accountability with Leadership?

I heard yesterday that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is going to spend $15,000 to hire a consultant to provide leadership training. The reason: apparently some senior managers don’t play well with each other.

Now, WMATA has a lot of issues–from concerns about safety to the fact that on any given day it seems more escalators are broken than are actually in service. And that’s just the rail part of the system.

So it doesn’t need managers squabbling over turf. (Not that any business does.)

Sure, this organization desperately needs leadership. But maybe it needs accountability more.

Kumbaya moments are no substitute for performance metrics. Before I’d put anyone in a room, I’d make sure the structure was in place to reward collaboration (and everything else done right) and ding the detractors.

Are some companies confusing accountability with leadership? What do you think?

Photo by Andrew Malone (Flickr). 

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