3 Actions to Boost Accountability on Your Team

Do you like to know where you stand? How are you performing in your job or your relationship? Are you on track to hit your goals? I have found that the unknown is the area that makes most people uncomfortable. People can deal with the information presented to them but if it comes as a surprise, it’s a problem. My hope for today’s article is to dispel the negative connotation that can follow the word accountability. Rather let’s embrace the beauty of what accountability really gives us, clarity. Here are three ways to boost accountability on any team you are on, be it at home or in the workplace.

Set Expectations

Have you ever heard the saying, “When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me”? I have found this to be true in virtually every occasion that assumption takes place. Take the time to set expectations that you have of your teammates. How would you like them to act? Is there a specific timeline that you have for the chore you have asked of them? The more specific that you get on the expectation, the more likely the job will be done to both of your satisfaction.

Cascading Communication

Now that the expectations have been set, let’s dial in the communication front. This is your chance to sit all parties involved down to ensure we are clear. Are there any questions? Is there anything that may get in the way of them accomplishing the set expectations? How can we best provide support to our teammates? From the top down, if the team is speaking the same language and on the same page, the desired outcome is more likely to happen. Remember the telephone game that we have played at parties? Don’t let that happen to your team by being present and having face to face communication.

Choose Celebration

Desmond Tutu once said, “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bit at a time”. I’m not suggesting anyone eat an elephant, but the saying holds serious merit when it comes to tackling a big project. We have set the expectation, cascading communication has taken place, and now we set check-ins regularly. These check-ins give us the opportunity to celebrate success and provide encouragement. Perhaps the project is behind. No problem! This gives us a chance to step in and assist our teammate now instead of being surprised at the end. Human beings love appreciation, so this is our chance to say, “Great job, keep up the amazing work”!

“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice”. That quote came from Brené Brown and summarizes accountability perfectly. Teams win and lose together; it never falls on one person’s shoulders. Stop and ask yourself if you were clear on your instructions? Did you then communicate it clearly? And lastly, check-in to celebrate progress. I know I have made the mistake of not following this simple formula and it is as much my fault as the “offender”. Use these actions moving forward and go win as a team!


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JM Ryerson founded and sold 3 businesses and is now helping leadership teams do the same. He is an Author, Leadership & Performance Coach, International Speaker, and host of the Let’s Go Win podcast who has been building companies and leading sales teams for over 20 years. JM is the co-founder and CEO of Let’s Go Win whose mission is to increase leadership, enhance culture, and help teams achieve peak performance. JM’s great passions are inspiring people to live their best lives and become open to what life has in store for them. His ultimate goal is to give others the tools that will allow them to transcend their self-limiting beliefs. JM was raised in Montana and lives in Boca Raton, Florida with his wife Lisa and their two amazing boys.