IAN FERGUSON: Holding your entire team accountable


Ian Ferguson

Accountability provides assurance that an individual or company is evaluated on their performance and/or behaviour related to something for which they are responsible. A great example of accountability is when you are able to limit distractions, and remain focused on achieving your goals and tasks. Creating work teams that have a higher degree of accountability is crucial to our ongoing success as a nation.

This week, we will focus on ways leaders can hold themselves and others accountable to higher standards.

1 Assess where you are…

Be brutally honest with the current state your team is in. Subjectively evaluate each team member, identifying strengths and weaknesses. Use any assessment documents available to you.

2 Talk to your team…

Set up a meeting to talk through your collective sense of the group’s strengths and weaknesses. Identify gaps where you could be stronger. These conversations should be both group and individual.

3 Increase the clarity...

Accountable teams clearly understand their business context, company’s strategy, stakeholder expectations and top priorities. Create an environment where it becomes easy to give and receive feedback.

4 Define your team’s obligations

Work with your team to come up with a clear sense of their primary obligations. Create clear job descriptions and communicate standard operating procedures. Your team should know the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ to do what they are required to do.

5 Do not avoid the tough conversations

Many teams struggle because they avoid dealing directly with tough inter-personal issues. Create a safe environment where your colleagues can talk openly about their challenges and commit to tackling them.

6 Help your team get to know one another…

Personal relationships are critical to accountable teams. Ensure everyone has a chance to work together. Make space in meetings for a little social time. Be sure to fix strained relationships. Poor relationships are a sure way to have a weak and mediocre team.

7 Celebrate successes…

Do not underestimate the power of expressing gratitude and celebrating success. Take the time to talk about your wins together. Start at least one meeting a month by having everyone share something a team member did that they are grateful for.

8 Set the tone for others…

Others will notice your impact as a leader as you set the tone of accountable leadership for your entire company. As the adage says, leaders must practice what they preach and model the behaviours they want to see.

• NB: Ian R Ferguson is a talent management and organisational development consultant, having completed graduate studies with regional and international universities. He has served organsations, both locally and globally, providing relevant solutions to their business growth and development issues. He may be contacted at tcconsultants@ coralwave.com.

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