I have previously written about the first three steps for a high performing team:
Once a team has worked on trust, making constructive use of conflict and building commitment, it’s time for the fourth phase, which is accountability.
Accountability means that team members are prepared to hold one another to account for what they are meant to do and, equally importantly, for the manner in which they do it. In other words, it’s not simply what team members achieve but the behaviours they employ.
Achieving accountability is not possible unless the first three steps are in place because it requires team members – not just the boss – to drive this and remind others when they are not meeting the performance standards of the group. Clearly a lack of trust, fear of conflict and absence of commitment mean that team members are unlikely to hold colleagues to account.
As important as peer-to-peer pressure is, the leader also needs to be prepared to hold team members to account – especially the difficult ones. The problem with this is that it can be easier to hold individuals to account for results rather than behaviours.
Accountability requires courage; it has to be a real team effort which focuses on both results and behaviours.