Show me an under-performing lackluster team and I’ll show you a team that lacks accountability. Accountability is the hallmark of a championship culture. Most people like to make excuses for not doing what they said they would do or what was expected of them. They will even go so far as to blame you, or one of your other team members or even the boss or coach for why they were not able to accomplish their task. Do not be that person! And if you are that person, stop! This is unacceptable behavior for winners, leaders and champions.
If we expect to develop a winning team, that requires a championship culture and that starts with leadership holding themselves and others accountable. Accountability is about a no excuses mindset. If you make a mistake or a poor decision, own up to it, learn from it and move on. Don’t blame traffic, your colleague’s performance or poor direction from leadership. Own it! Once you accept a task or assignment and agree to it, you are now responsible. If you are not 100% clear on what’s expected or how to do it, it’s your responsibility to get that clarity. No excuses. When you start blaming other folks, situations or circumstances, you develop a reputation for being full of excuses and there is no place for you on any championship team that I know.
As leaders, we not only have to hold ourselves accountable to a high standard, but we have to hold our teams accountable as well. An interesting thing about standards are they are different from rules. Rules are written guidelines that have to be followed in an organization. Standards are those unwritten but understood performance levels and expectations that the team has for one another based on each others respective roles and skill sets. Standards are set by leadership but upheld by the team.
We should not confuse accountability with judgment though. Holding your team accountable is about making them better. It’s about not letting them off the hook when they under-perform or don’t deliver at a level to which you know they are capable. It is not about speaking bad about that person to others because they made a bad choice or a bad decision. That creates ill will and dysfunction within the organization. Accountability makes your team better where judgement just makes them bitter.
3 Accountability Guidelines to follow:
- Self Accountability. Accountability starts with YOU. If you are not doing your part, you’re in no position to hold anyone else accountable.
- Team Accountability. Do not accept anything less from your colleague’s than you will accept from yourself. Winning requires a championship culture. You create that culture by holding everyone accountable.
- Don’t Judge. There’s a fine line between holding someone accountable and judging them. Always ask yourself if what you are doing or saying is constructive or destructive. Accountability is always constructive. Not always pleasant, but always constructive.
It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities… #NoShortcuts
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