If you don’t have an accountability partner or group, you should. Every leader walks a lonely path in some ways and faces unique challenges. With access to funds, decision-making authority, and plenty of stress, leadership can be a pressure cooker.

That’s why you need someone outside your own head to listen to you, offer guidance, and challenge you to be your best self.

Choosing an accountability partner is not complicated, but you must choose carefully because this person will come to know you well—possibly over a lifetime.

Here are six must-have characteristics for the person you choose to hold you accountable. Your accountability partner should be:

  1. A Peer

Leaders have more power in relationships than they realize. That’s why the military has rules against fraternization between officers and enlisted personnel. The relationship has an imbalance from the start. Your accountability partner should be at a peer level with you.

  1. Outside Your Organization

Mixing relationships within an organization seldom works. Choose an accountability partner outside your work context.

  1. A Mature Person

Nobody has it all together, but your accountability partner must be able to offer good counsel. Someone who is working through a lot of “issues” may not be in a position to offer support.

  1. Non-Judgmental

It’s impossible to admit your shortcomings to a person who might be disappointed by them. Your accountability partner must offer a safe listening ear. And you’ll need to be prepared to do the same.

  1. Able to Speak the Truth

This means someone who will not shy away from the need to challenge you on important matters such as integrity, spirituality, and ethics. A flatterer is not an accountability partner. Choose someone who cares enough to speak the truth—and to do so kindly.

  1. Trustworthy

You must have absolute confidence that your accountability partner will honor your confidentiality—and vice versa. This should be a stated agreement between the two of you.

A solid accountability relationship is like a deep-muscle massage: it hurts a little, but it feels so good to clear out the toxins.

What tips have you learned for structuring a good accountability relationship? Share your answer on Facebook or Twitter.



Featured Resource | Outstanding Leadership ol1-2

With more than 40 years of leadership experience, Stan Toler knows what it takes to empower people to reach organizational and personal goals. He cuts through the mystery and confusion and provides clear guidelines to help you accomplish vital leadership tasks, including…

defining your vision, developing your plan, and communicating clearly to help people buy in to your shared goal overcoming common leadership challenges to create a culture of success building strong relationships and effective teams that make working hard worthwhile.

You’ll find all the tools, tips, and practical guidance you need to help individuals and groups reach their highest potential and fulfill their God-given purpose.