Are you good at holding others to account? How does it feel when you do?
There is no doubt about it, holding others to account can be tricky, uncomfortable and culturally alien. We all like to be liked and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
But according to Lencioni, in his 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, it is not just about keeping a nice atmosphere at work that stops people holding others accountable- it is a lack of courage. Harsh but true!
It is challenging to step up and call someone out. However, if you’ve put the work with your team into establishing the 3 previous foundation stages of Lencioni’s pyramid – Trust, Productive Conflict and Commitment– then the environment will be ready for this next step.
Everyone in the team has a role in holding each other accountable. If you have jointly agreed what needs to be done, figured out the team KPI’s and had a way of openly declaring progress as a team that shows the glaringly obvious gaps, then it is easier to ask the question about a colleagues role in the team’s success and hold them accountable.
And no, it’s not easy. It is uncomfortable and embarrassing and may make you or them want to cry in the bathroom at first. But if this becomes part of the culture of your team, you are bound to achieve far better results all round. Lean into the discomfort, set the scene, and try it, gently. Done sensitively, this will greatly enhance the functioning of your team.