Accountability – Six Things to Get Right – 5. Teamwork

Posted By BandyWorks
Image of team of ants Building trust enables great teamwork that is necessary for accountability

‘Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability’
Patrick Lencioni

 

Having a culture of accountability implies an organization that works together. Accountability while positive and productive is not the natural state of work. Teamwork is the mechanism that enables it to overcome individual limitations and fears to produce results that cannot be achieved otherwise. It requires members to share trust, time and purpose.

Trust
Trust comes from consistency over time. Building a track record of delivering on promises is a great way to build trust. Ironically, making mistakes can also be a great trust builder. Everyone makes them, but not everyone deals with them with integrity The willingness to admit mistakes saves time and creates trust. After one admits to a mistake, it is much easier to change behavior to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Such changes improves processes and increases productivity. Peter Lencioni a leading management consultant says directly, “Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal. Creating a culture of accountability means developing a climate in which people can speak openly, admit to mistakes without fear, and worry more about serving the customer than looking better than a co-worker” Once the fear of reprisals for making a mistake is removed, there is less inertia to perform new tasks or take on a difficult assignment. Nonetheless mistakes are never fun to admit and share. When they do occur, great teams focus on the future – how to resolve the issue and how the entire team can avoid them going forward.

Time
There is no way to avoid taking time if teamwork is to be promoted. It takes time to listen and debate an issue. It takes more time to address performance that is not optimal. Taking short cuts to save time always make things worse. Leaving unacceptable behavior alone sends a message that accountability and responsibility to the team are not critical. In order to have a team participate time is consumed in emails, calls, messages or meetings. How else can the team listen, share clarify and analyze plans, problems or situations? Thus the challenge to teamwork is the regular work pressure that takes away time, focus or energy from the team activities. There must be time allocated to make it happen. Allocating time to build teamwork means short-term pain – it will effect your existing work load. Be confident however, that the time is always there in the long run. Not taking enough time to address issues early means there will be time later to address it or the consequences of it. In the long run, team work saves time by finding solutions that were not known and eliminating wasted work.

Purpose
Team work is a natural desire for many – we want to belong to something of which we are proud. Accountability starts with a vision. Team members that share this vision will naturally enjoy the benefits of having a team working to fulfill it. Such a purpose helps to drive healthy competition. It requires individual talents yet demands adherence to a share code that puts the group first.

Building teamwork is an essential part of accountability–it accomplishes things that its members cannot do individually. Accountability forces change or requires maintained performance to achieve results. Working as a team provides capabilities that enable individuals to surpass their individual capacity and capabilities. Teamwork is the key for organization growth as problems can be solved faster by

  • Bouncing ideas
  • Resolving impasses
  • Accessing different skills
  • Using different perspectives
  • Sharing knowledge
  • Assigning tasks to those that do them best
  • Improving inefficient methods
  • Balancing work loads
  • Eliminating wasted work

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