One of the most misunderstood, misused, and yet important factors of organizational success is accountability. I find that tough-talking leaders are often the worst at building accountability in their organizations. Defense secretary Donald Rumsfield is a prime example. He was loud, critical, and often abusive to subordinates. His actions resulted in fear, blame, and micromanagement , none of which leads to accountability. When Robert Gates took over, he restored accountability by being clear about direction and objectives, and reacting quickly when performance lagged with minimal emotion and a focus on problem solving. Strong accountability systems develop self-confidence, responsibility, and leadership.