How Accountable Teams Drive Performance in Challenging Times

By Matt Dallisson, 18/05/2021

The future of work is changing, and new rules are being written before our very eyes.

Teams are more important now than ever before, but many of them are struggling to step up and drive high performance when it matters most.

Accountable Leaders Build Accountable Teams

Weak, mediocre teams demonstrate behaviors that can breed a toxic work environment, such as working in isolation or not demonstrating trust among other team members.

In order to combat mediocre teams, leaders must create a culture of accountability in their organization where individuals can step up and be accountable.

“No group ever becomes a team until they can hold themselves accountable as a team.”

—The Discipline of Teams, Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith

When teams take full responsibility for their actions, they manage most issues themselves rather than looking to leadership to solve problems.

Overall, accountable teams demonstrate two critical dimensions: team clarity and team commitment.

1. Team Clarity

Accountable teams should have full clarity about the business they operate in by having the ability to:

  • Anticipate external trends both in and outside of their industry.
  • Have clarity on the strategy and purpose of their organization.
  • Understand the expectations of their stakeholders and the interdependencies that exist with other parts of the company.
  • Know what needs to get done and how it needs to be done.

2. Team Commitment

Accountable teams also demonstrate a high degree of commitment needed to deliver results. They do so in the following ways:

  • Have a deep sense of commitment to driving success.
  • Invest time in working across the organization.
  • Work to make their team as strong as it can be.
  • Show a deep commitment to one another.

As a leader, these two dimensions are invaluable as a way of thinking about driving mutual accountability and sustaining high performance for their organization over the long-term.

Accountable Teams Drive Extraordinary Performance

Leaders who invest in leveling up their team and promote a culture of accountability can experience transformational benefits, such as:

  • Everyone is clear and aligned on what needs to get done.
  • Each team member is accountable, pulls their weight, and goes to great lengths to support one another.
  • Everyone feels safe challenging one another and confronting issues head-on without fear.
  • Team members leverage the unique capabilities of others.
  • Everyone works hard but also manages to have fun and celebrate success.

These benefits translate to strong results within organizations. In fact, research shows that high- performing companies have more accountable teams compared to average or poorly performing companies.

The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of its Parts

Whether it’s an executive team, a departmental team, a cross-functional team, or even a team made up of external partners, organizations have become increasingly reliant on teams to achieve success and guide them through uncertainty.

Given the importance of teams in today’s ever-changing world, it is clear we need to increase our efforts when it comes to building truly accountable teams.

This content was originally published here.

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.