The Responsibility of Leaders to Inspire Accountability and Ownership — In conversation with Vicki Hildebrand

Talking Trends
3 min readMar 1, 2024


Photo on Freepik

While individual ideas, creativity, and accomplishment are valuable, it’s even more valuable to think about those on a larger scale. How can leaders motivate their teams to think beyond themselves — to transcend individualistic thought by developing a mindset that looks for solutions that benefit a greater collective?

We’re in conversation with Vicki Hildebrand, a vision igniter who has over 40 years of experience in the world of tech, from both Silicon Valley to the Government to international services. A people-first business leader, Victoria’s focus on efficiency in transformative processes leads to valuable business results and solutions.

Vicki, given your track record as a results-driven executive who values open communication and collective success, could you share your perspective on the role of leadership in driving meaningful change within an organization? How does your leadership approach empower teams to navigate challenges, embrace change, and achieve collective success?

“I think that the primary responsibility of leaders is to paint a picture of the future and inspire people to see how they fit into it. I’ve often said that I’d rather work for a pretzel vendor who has a big vision than be at a company where I felt stifled by my leader. The crucial impact that leadership must create is to get excited about the future and get people excited with you — think even to JFK’s ‘Let’s put a man on the moon.’ When you inspire people, they start to think about how they could contribute to that picture you’ve painted of the future. At the crux of this is the impact that inspiration has on self-accountability.

“As part of an organization, decisions are not about me, nor are they about my team. They’re about what’s best for the company. I ask people on my team, instead of thinking about results for themselves, think like a CEO. When people put their CEO hat on at the time of making a decision, I’ve noticed that they often make different choices with a greater collective impact that drives more value.

“In one of my previous roles, my colleague’s team was challenged with one of the most important tasks for the company and struggled to make headway. I felt that my team was more capable, but I didn’t simply ask to have the project — I asked to move my team over to collaborate with the other team. Because this decision drove the project forward and was made selflessly with the company in mind, it led to the biggest promotion in my career.

“When it comes to my leadership style, an open-door policy is the foundation. Further, escalation, despite many people fearing it, is a powerful tool. I’m all about efficient, speedy value — some decisions require the opportunity to be thought through, but nobody likes analysis paralysis. Sometimes we have to make a choice quickly and course-correct at a later point, so if an individual has difficulty making a choice, escalation is very valuable in finding a resolution and moving forward.

“Finally, making sure people are accountable starts with giving them a sense of ownership and responsibility. It’s rarely a good outcome when people make decisions based on precedent that contradicts their beliefs — we are equally accountable for our impacts to the success of the business, so I encourage my team to take accountability and advocate for what is right. Empowering employees to imagine that they can have an impact allows them to create that impact.”

Thank you for sharing, Vicki.



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