Embracing Accountability on a High-Performing Team

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Svitlana Kostenko
The Blue Widgets team is continuing to build trust, master conflict, and achieve commitment with each other. They're working together better than ever, but before Amir, Jakob, Lina, and Gabrielle make their way to the top of the High-Performance Team pyramid, they'll need to learn to embrace accountability.

HR Pyramid

Culture of Accountability

Accountability is the willingness of team members to remind one another when they are not living up to the performance standards of the team. Accountability on the highest performing teams occurs directly among team members, and for a culture of accountability to thrive, the team members must be willing to provide both positive and constructive feedback to one another. Without this feedback, team members may slip into poor behavior habits that can negatively affect the performance of the team. As a seasoned team leader, Jakob knows that team members often find it difficult or uncomfortable to hold each other accountable, which is why he's put together another training session for the Blue Widgets team.

Providing Feedback

Once the Blue Widgets team has gathered for their latest training, Jakob explains that, in this meeting, they will focus on giving both positive and constructive feedback. He tells them to write down one piece of positive feedback and one piece of constructive feedback for each of the other members of the team. The positive feedback should focus on each team member's single most important behavioral quality that contributes to the strength of the team, while the constructive feedback should focus on each team member's single most important behavioral quality that detracts from the strength of the team. Jakob tells them that when they are done writing their feedback, they'll go around the room sharing what they've written down with one other and see if there are any surprises.

Feedback Cloud

After seeing the looks of trepidation on the faces of Lina, Gabrielle, and Amir, Jakob explains that, since he's the team leader, they'll start by reading out all the positive feedback they have for him, and then move on to the constructive. One by one they all read what they've written down: Lina tells Jakob that he's great at keeping the team focused on results; Amir says that Jakob demonstrates flexibility and adaptability; and Gabrielle says that he treats others with dignity and respect. They pause to ask Jakob if any of the feedback is surprising or if he has any clarifications, but he does not.

With that out of the way, the team moves on to the constructive feedback. Despite feeling a bit uncomfortable about giving their leader feedback, they go around the room once more in the same order. Lina tells Jakob that sometimes he can be controlling about to how complete certain tasks; Amir says that he holds unnecessary meetings without clear objectives; and Gabrielle says that he can be too focused on getting things done perfectly instead of on time. After they've finished, Jakob asks Amir for some clarification about his comment, and Amir says that the number of meetings that Jakob holds is okay, but that he'd like to know the goals of the meetings before attending.

Jakob thanks them for their feedback, and they continue the exercise by going around the room and providing positive and constructive feedback for everyone on the team. When they've finished, Jakob asks them to summarize one or two key takeaways from the exercise. Amir volunteers to go first, saying that he'll focus on listening openly and non-judgmentally while also working on approaching new assignments with more confidence. Gabrielle says that she'll continue to get things done while keeping the big picture in mind and try to ask for help and recognize when she's getting overwhelmed by a task. Lina wraps up by saying that she'll continue to take initiative on her own, but work on being less argumentative when she doesn't get her way.

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