“I’m holding you accountable.” Sounds ominous, right?
Shift it to: “As a team, we will hold each other accountable” and you have a whole new ballgame.
A team that skillfully and respectfully holds members accountable has a competitive edge. Team members are known for delivering on their commitments and co-workers count on one another. So they can collaborate effectively and enjoyably; they can produce great results.
“When we coach and facilitate teams, we help team members develop the skills to hold each other accountable and we give them an opportunity to practice these skills in their real work,” says Ian McKelvie, CEO of BECAUZ. “And we practice what we preach. BECAUZ team members agree to hold each other accountable. That means doing our utmost to meet the commitments we make and ensuring we have respectful, honest conversations when commitments are at risk. We can then easily, openly collaborate to ensure we deliver the results we are after.”
How does the effective team hold each another accountable?
First, it requires setting clear expectations and making commitments to the team – commitments on actions, deadlines, quality standards, etc. And it requires team members to give their all to deliver on those commitments.
But things can get in the way of deadlines and delivering one’s best work. Life happens. A team that holds each other accountable agrees in advance on how they will deal with expectations not being met. Team members agree to:
- Assume positive intent from team members – assume that co-workers genuinely want, and intend, to meet commitments.
- Alert each other when it becomes apparent that a commitment can’t be met.
- Ask for help and support when it’s needed.
- Be accepting and supportive of a co-worker who does ask for help.
- Help as much as possible, in a genuinely collaborative way.
- Check in at appropriate and agreed-upon times to see how work is progressing.
Holding co-workers accountable builds trust within the team and improves performance. It establishes a team that collaborates effectively and that’s known for delivering results.
“I’m holding you accountable” shouldn’t have an ominous ring. In a top-performing team, it means: “I know I can count on you. And you can count on me. And together, we will drive for results.”