In all the work we’ve done with teams across dozens of clients, what separates the high-performing team from a collection of people with a job to do: accountability.
Harvard Business Review sums it up best:
· In the weakest teams, there is no accountability
· In mediocre teams, bosses are the source of accountability
· In high performance teams, peers manage the vast majority of performance problems with one another.
Setting mutual accountability as a ground rule builds trust, ensures ownership, and strengthens the culture. When done well, team members can ask each other for project updates, feel comfortable providing quality feedback and have a shared sense of ownership for getting things done well.
When done well, there’s an agenda for a team meeting, and all members feel a responsibility to deliver on their commitments, and challenge peers when deadlines are missed, or quality isn’t up to par. On these teams, leaders facilitate the dialogue, but are not solely responsible for team performance.
Here are tips to build accountability on your team:
1. Promote a culture of shared accountability and ongoing performance feedback
2. Create an abundance of clarity with all team members; you expect them to hold themselves and each other to high standards of execution and delivery
3. Use scorecards (KPIs or OKRs) or dashboards to track commitments and activity
4. Ask each team member for their point of view on the work in progress, whether it’s their responsibility or not
5. Nurture trust with your team, regularly soliciting and providing feedback without repercussions.
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