As I touched on in a previous post , true leadership requires a great amount of humility, self-awareness, and self-control. Each of these characteristics contribute to what may be one of the more important aspects of true leadership: accountability.

It is always easier to find excuses and far harder to embrace setbacks and mistakes with the same enthusiasm as triumphs and victories. It is human nature. However, true leadership means taking responsibility for failure as well as success. The two go hand in hand. Only when someone accepts there is no one else to blame, then and only then can he or she develop a plan to succeed.

Instead of asking, “Who did this to me?” the question should be framed as, “What did I do wrong?” This becomes the far more constructive self-help. As the saying goes, “It never gets easier, you get better.”

It is a difficult truth. But taking ownership means accepting that you are the source of the problem. You are the only thing you can change or control. So, if there is a difficulty, own it. Never blame anyone else. Have confidence that by changing yourself, you can change the environment, too. Leaders who do this are far more likely to inspire the kind of loyalty and trust that makes companies succeed.

My father is a big advocate for John Maxwell’s five levels of leadership. He is a firm believer in level three: people not only follow someone because they want to (i.e., the relationship they have with them, which is classified as level-two leadership), but also because of their track record. This is when companies really start to produce results.

At THP, we try to empower all team members to act as if they are the owners of the enterprise—to take responsibility for their successes and mistakes as well as to stay authentic and retain their integrity. If they stay true to what they believe and are open about what is successful or falling short, then they can successfully address problems, drive results, and improve performance.