Accountability on Teams

Business peopleWhat level of accountability do you have on your team?  Do people raise a red flag when they see someone going off track or do they duck and run?  As a team leader do you hold your team accountable for results and behavior?  It’s so much easier to define results and measure performance in those terms only.  Unfortunately, behavior can be a hugely disruptive force in any team.  So address it, quickly and effectively.

To effectively address behavior issues and hold people accountable to a standard a few things must be in place first.  The team must trust each other and their team leader, everyone must be willing to share conflicting views and ideas, and the team must be committed to their team success.  If these three things are in place, or are improving, then it is easier to hold each other accountable for results and behavior.  As well, the team leader must be willing to step up and step in when behavior is out of line.

Here are four tips on addressing problem behavior:

  1. Observation:  State what you have observed.  This focus the conversation on what people see and the impact it has without saying someone is “wrong” or “bad”.
  2. Improve: Talk about what can be improved instead of what they did wrong.  Most people want to get better at what they do.  Saying something is wrong is a judgment which will get them entrenched in the behavior you want changed.
  3. Success:  Point out what they do well and encourage them to continue doing that behavior.
  4. Impact:  Focus on the impact their performance has on the team and its members.   Using team goals will help you demonstrate how they are hurting the overall team’s success.

When you as a team leader steps into having these kinds of conversations with people it makes it easier for other team members to hold each other accountable.  If the leader won’t hold team members accountable there is no reason for them to do it.  Set the example for how you want to have behavior addressed, be consistent with it and the team will start to hold each other accountable.  Make trust and commitment are in place and that its acceptable to offer differing opinions are all present and part of the team culture.

What is your favorite method of addressing problem performance or behavior?

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Filed under Leadership, Team Building

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