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Accountability and Responsibility

Accountability and Responsibility

Often when a team is badly structured or incohesive, there is a lot of blame-shifting or finger pointing when a project fails or has a less-than-desirable outcome. The first step would be to get the correct team together first in order to set yourself up for success. But the second thing, is to create a culture of accountability and responsibility in your team. This may be an intrinsic value and not something that can be forced on an individual. But consider than in a company environment, the individuals tend to take on the principles of the whole.

Accountability is defined as a state of being liable or answerable, while responsibility is a state of being answerable, or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management. The main difference between the 2 then is that in one, the outcome is controlled while in the other, it isn’t. By allowing your teams to take responsibility and be accountable, you are putting the power of both scenarios back in their hands and giving them commitment to and ownership of their work.

So lead from the front and create a business that is based on both these values: give responsibility, don’t take it. Here are 4 ways to assist in creating accountable and responsible teams.

 Create Cohesion

Why does this team exist? What is their common purpose or goal? Building a strong team is the first step to have a successful team. Don’t just straight into work and expect them to perform, first help them to understand why they are a chosen member of this specific group.

  • Ask the team to come up with their main objective and desired outcome, instead of giving it to them.
  • Clearly define how their success will impact the company.
  • Let them list out their team values as a group

Have clear individual and group objectives

Ensure that every member of the team fully understand the objectives, the task assigned to them, and how their work influences the rest of the group in terms of the timeline. This will prevent anyone from coming forward with “I didn’t know they were waiting on me”. If everyone understands their part in the plan, they can be held accountable to do their part thoroughly.

  • Draw up the project plan and timeline, ensuring that all requirements are clear.
  • Expectation management is key here, so encourage open discussions on expected results.
  • A common goal encourages support between team members which further enhances cohesion in the team.

Strong Drivers

Whether your company has a traditional management structure or a more holistic approach to leadership, having a strong driver is essential to the success of a project. This could be a person – maybe the person whose task completion is dependent on someone else finishing their portion of the work first, or a company mantra that everyone subscribes to, like Nike’s just do it, or UPS’s Consider it Done.

  • Accountability in itself is a big motivator, especially when a team member clearly understands how their inability to perform will impact the rest of the team.
  • Company culture plays an important role here – if the positive message is clear across all levels and teams that “this is way we do it”, it will guide the principles by which the team run their project.

Involve the whole team

Team accountability instantly creates a combined effort. If they succeed, they all share in the success. If however they fail, that is also for the entire group. By creating individual accountability within a team and at the same time, making that team accountable to the company, it removes ego and allows the team to put forth their combined body of work.

  • While individual efforts and successes should be rewarded and acknowledged, the project cannot succeed on individual efforts alone.
  • Instead of finger pointing, allow the team to jointly determine how things should be addresses differently going forward.

We can help make your teams responsible and accountable. Click here to book your free 30min session to discuss your company and team.



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