In a study of over 4,000 people, guess what percentage said that their team would be more effective if they were better at holding each other accountable?
89%! 89% of people said that their team would be MORE effective, simply by holding each other accountable to what they said they would do.
So, why don’t we do it? Because it’s uncomfortable! But do you want to know what is more uncomfortable? Not achieving results, not hitting budget, falling short of your KPI’s, having to go through performance management, getting made redundant or someone on your team getting made redundant.
Accountability is the hardest of all five behaviours for teams to embrace, but remember when I said that the behaviours were compounding? Well, when team members trust each other, when they weighed in on a discussion that led them to a decision that they all committed to, it makes it a lot easier to say “hey, we committed to that, you said you were going to do it but it doesn’t look like you have. What’s going on?”
Now, you may have noticed that when talking about accountability, I am talking about peer-to-peer accountability; this is because the very best teams almost never have to go to the leader.
Lencioni says “A leader should not be the primary source of accountability on a team. The leader is the ultimate source of accountability, but the primary, most frequent source of accountability needs to be teammates.”
Even when we understand the value of accountability, it can still be hard to act on it. If you’re anything like me, having to hold someone accountable may not be your strong suit, but think about it this way: if you don’t hold someone accountable, you are doing them a disservice because you aren’t giving them the chance to improve.
Something that can make peer-to-peer accountability easier is to have a sentence or phrase that you all use when holding someone accountable. For example, at Human Tribe, one of the teams that we have taken through the Five Behaviours of a Cohesive Team program have a sentence (inspired by Brené Brown): “Consider this an act of love”. All team members know what is coming if they hear this sentence and they have all agreed that they will never take it personally or as an attack, rather they view it as a gift from their teammate.
Does your team have a special way you hold each other accountable?
Jess Weiss / Managing Consultant