Stop Holding Your Team Accountable

Holding your team and your teammates accountable is hindering your results and is an inefficient and uninspiring leadership approach. You are taking away significant responsibility from the people around you and contributing to a mediocre and, perhaps, mildly toxic work environment. Holding your team accountable is causing stress, defensiveness, lies, fear, and distraction to be present in the workplace. You may want to consider stopping this approach to leading teams.

Accountability is the sole responsibility of an individual, period.

Your main responsibility, regardless of your role, is to hold yourself accountable. Take radical responsibility for your thoughts, behaviours, actions, and results. Take extreme ownership of your role, your performance, and your development. If you AND your team choose this mindset and supporting behaviour, you will find it is no longer your role to hold your team accountable for anything. Accountability is the sole responsibility of the responsible team player. When we take full accountability for our actions, no one else needs to.

Hold your team capable and be responsible for their capabilities.

Consider replacing your prior emphasis of holding your team accountable with holding your team capable. Seeing your team as capable and being responsible for improving their capabilities is a perspective to seriously consider. From this vantage point, the energy you radiate is supportive, hopeful, future focussed, and inspiring. You are planted firmly in your team’s corner and championing them. You know they are capable and you challenge and encourage them accordingly. Rather than criticize their mistakes, you focus on building their capabilities to correct them. When you see an opportunity for improvement, you provide instant feedback that includes different ways for them improve.

Results and outcomes are a shared responsibility.

When teams understand the concept that individuals are accountable for themselves and that individuals are responsible to hold their teammates capable, a high performance culture begins to form. Blame begins to be replaced with shared ownership. Failure begins to be seen as an opportunity. Clarity of who is responsible for accountability and who is responsible for capability begins to create a flow and a focus towards shared and objectives. Friction is replaced with inspiring and productive conversations. Frustration turns into collaboration. Criticism turns into coaching. Recognition becomes a common practice where people are caught doing things right.

Holding people accountable is uninspiring. Stay out of people’s kitchens! Accountability is their job. Holding people capable and contributing to improving their capabilities is leadership. Champion the people around you. Build people up. Adding massive value is your job.

You can make this transition if you choose to. You are capable of it. Nothing but goodness will result from this adjustment. The relationships you have and the results you are striving towards will thrive.

Consider discussing this as a team and make this transition together. You will see the impact of this approach on your scorecard in a few months and you will feel the impact in the air you breathe right away.

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