The most common refrain we, as coaches, hear when we interview leaders in an organization is, “We need more accountability in this place!” That’s consistent with data compiled by Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, reporting accountability as the component teams cite as their greatest need.
In this series on Team Coaching in Healthcare, we have been making the point that without trust, which leads to good conflict and true commitment, there will be a lack of accountability. “When people haven’t committed to a decision, they won’t have the courage to hold one another accountable to keep those commitments,” says Lencioni. “Peer pressure is the best accountability; top-down pressure for it is evidence of a failure of true accountability.”
Keeping promises: Victim or owner mentality?
Commitment means making promises to fellow team members to implement a plan of action. Great teams don’t rely upon the leader to hold them accountable to keep their promises. Instead, they hold each other accountable.
In team coaching, we help leaders create an environment for mutual accountability, where the leader leads by calling out the tough issues. If the leader doesn’t do it, no one else will either. But once the issue is on the table, the team itself needs to step up and tackle it through conflict and commitment born out of mutual trust.
The following diagram holds the key to high-performance results.
If accountability needs to be imposed from above, team members adopt a victim mentality. But when it comes from within the team, mutually, team members adopt an owner mentality.
Victims will never be happy in life; only owners will.
An ownership mentality is self-perpetuating: the leader may step in from time to time to adjust the team’s trajectory, but otherwise there’s nothing that will keep that team from producing great results.
Cultivating fruitful teams
If a team builds the competencies of Trust, Conflict, Commitment and mutual Accountability, they will produce great results. Like a fruit tree that’s provided good soil, sunlight, water and fertilizer, it cannot help but produce good fruit!
Team players who don’t keep their commitments to others will stand out as unqualified in the eyes of their peers. If they hold their own interests in opposition to producing results for the team, they’ll be voted off the team.
Trust + Conflict + Commitment + Accountability = Ownership of Results
We believe people under your leadership want to be part of a great team: one that is fun, engaging and produces great results. No one ever wants to be part of a team that isn’t winning.
MEDI Leadership’s Team Coaching Method can make that a reality, helping you accelerate the development of high-performing teams in your organization.