A well-orchestrated team depends on everyone doing their job, at the time they are supposed to do it, yielding the results they are supposed to yield. Everyone likes to think they are accountable. Are they? As a leader, you need to ensure that your team actually is accountable.
What does accountability mean to you? Does it mean that your word is your bond? That you can be relied on to follow through? That you’ll set expectations and ensure you’ll honor them? Are your team members taking on too little or too much accountability? How can we be more accountable and inspire our teams to be so?
When we’re accountable, we feel amped because we’re getting high-value results, and our team feels we’re transparent and trustworthy. So why is being accountable sometimes hard? Because consistently giving and keeping our word requires us to be truly considerate – of both ourselves and others. Accountability requires us to buck up and follow through even when we don’t feel like it. It also requires us to value ourselves and others.
How To Get Accountability In The DNA Of Your Team
We have to build appropriate “containers.” These containers are the structures that enable a group of people to achieve real accountability across the board, pulling together like a synchronized rowing team. There are four key practices that will help you do that:
1. Utilize the accountability equation.
2. Create clear accountability structures with Needle Movers.
3. Track results via weekly reporting.
4. Reward high performance and provide consequences for low performance.
Making these practices explicit keeps team members in their Smart State. They know what they have to do and how to do it. These practices not only foster safety, belonging, and mattering, they also help create two tasty brain chemicals: dopamine, which is triggered by the desire for reward; and oxytocin, which is triggered by the feeling of connection. Both are essential in fostering a SmartTribe.
Utilize The Accountability Equation
Most of us encourage accountability by implementing rewards and consequences as part of our culture, this is highly effective. What helps even more is if accountability is one of your core values, and becomes ingrained and celebrated in your culture. Here’s my recipe for accountability:
Assigner’s Clear Expectation
+ Owner’s Agreement
+ Personal Rewards and Consequences
= Self-Ownership and High Accountability
When the leader takes responsibility for unspoken expectations, team members will mirror their boss. The flip side is true too, in low accountability cultures we see the trouble begins at the top. The team is simply modeling the low accountability that the executive team is displaying.
When accountability structures are used across a company, you’ll find people perform at much higher levels.
Where can your accountability be strengthened?