How to Increase Team Accountability

“Do as I say, not as I do” – A personally hated phrase for me, one that echoes through life as a terrible reminder that we often expect others to act in ways that we wouldn’t even expect ourselves to! More on this later…

One of the keys to leading any group of people is to impart responsibility and accountability! Essentially, what any good team needs throughout is a sense of ownership. Ownership of the team, values, strategy, projects, and so on! Without a feeling of ownership, you can expect to see far lower levels of accountability and responsibility throughout your team. But how do you do this? How do you impart the ownership to your team that breeds a sense of accountability to the team, to the company, vision, and leadership?!

One of the keys to impart this ownership, is to communicate, and (more importantly) show, values, belief, and vision! Without your team grasping the vision, values, and beliefs at an organisational level, and they’re own personal level, don’t expect to see them taking accountability. The truth is, as human beings, we find it hard to be accountable for something that we don’t see the heart off. The task at hand isn’t the purpose, yet this is how so many organisations work!

So, this takes us back up to the first statement I made at the start of this article. As a leader, people respond more to what they see you do than what they hear! Stop thinking that just because you’ve told your team the values and vision, that they should just fall in line! The buck stops with you as a leader to set the stage, be the example! Employees want to see things like mission and values come to life in decisions that you make and actions that you take! This is core to leading people into true accountability, and not the forced “Do as I say” kind of accountability that will never get you true results!

Your top priority is to establish a solid blueprint for team success, which you can read all about here! Once you have these set it place, communicated, and included your team is establishing the 5 points to team success, start walking the walk! Then, one of the most overlooked aspects of imparting accountability, is allowing others to clarify their own personal values, and how they align with the organisation and team values that you collectively set. This has a far greater effect on your business than you could ever realise.

Look at the image below, this draws the comparison of individual commitment to the organisation against their understanding of organisational vales and personal values. Clearly, the best place to have your employees be fully committed, and thus take more accountability, is to have them clearly understand and see the working out of their personal and organisational values. The surprising part of this research is this, the lowest level of commitment is when there is only a clear understanding of organisational values. What’s this mean? Simple. It means that without your individual team members understanding their own values, and how they fit and work within the organisational values, you are flogging a dead horse! You would be better off scrapping any kind of values, as you get better commitment from individuals with no understanding of either, than you do with only clear organisational values! Staggering, right?!

So, it’s clear, without clearly defined organisational values aligned to the individuals values within your team, your team commitment to your organisation is never going to reach its full potential. And to drive team accountability, this is what you need. People will only take ownership of what they believe in, trust, and understand, and without any of these attributes, you will find team members failing to get fully behind your company’s vision!

Winston Churchill once said, “The price of greatness is responsibility."