Accountability is hard, especially within small teams. On a small team, your employees can quickly start feeling like family – sometimes they actually are family – which can make your job as a leader hard at times. Still, accountability is critical to a high-performing team. So how do you do it?
Here are 8 values high-performing, highly accountable teams practice:
1. They’re transparent
Candor is critical on an accountable team, and that starts with leadership. Accountable teams understand the expectation and see people around them, including you, being held to that standard. They don’t shy away from sharing updates about company performance and when employees get fired for poor performance, they don’t sugarcoat it.
2. They’re engaged
Accountable team members work together. They have questions. They seek collaboration. They ask for help. Someone who isn’t communicating and seems to go unnoticed regularly might be a red flag.
3. They stick around
High turnover is a sure sign of lack of accountability. Why? High performers don’t stick around to see underperformance go unrecognized. If you’re not holding poor performers accountable, you can expect your high performers to take notice and take action.
4. They have fun
A direct outcome of accountability across a team is a culture of fun. Teams that are held accountable build infinitely more trust and respect for one another, which manifests as a group of people who genuinely enjoy being around each other, even when things get tough.
5. They have the hard conversation
Accountability comes with its perks, but it isn’t always easy. To truly have a culture of accountability, teams must be comfortable having hard conversations and delivering and receiving feedback. These conversations should happen at all levels, not just top-down. Team members should be able to have candid conversations with each other without always involving a higher-up.
6. They’re aligned
How can a team truly be accountable to the same standards unless they know what those standards are? Accountable teams share a singular vision for success and are aligned on their path forward. If a team member can’t articulate the company’s vision, they’re not going to be able to deliver against it.
7. They experience consequence
It’s not fun to talk about, but shit happens. We all mess up every once in a while. And everyone is allowed a little runway to make mistakes here and there. But when problems start to become persistent, accountability is key.
8. They’re human
Building a great culture and company isn’t easy, and accountability doesn’t always look like punishment for poor behavior. Teams that truly get what it means to be accountable also get what it means to mess up, forgive, and get back on the horse together.