5 Ways to Build Accountability in Teams

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How often do you find yourself and others playing the blame game?


If you’re unsure what I am talking about… this is the game where loaded fingers are aimed towards people that we can fire blame towards, ultimately deflecting it away from ourselves.

‘If he did this, then it would have gone much better!’

‘If she hadn’t done that, then we would have been successful!’


If you’ve ever played this before, then perhaps you already know that this game very rarely has a winner.

It does have a lot of losers though.

Typically, this game looks like a group of people shirking their responsibilities and desperately battling to self-preserve by taking others down.



High performing and successful teams tend not to participate in this game. Instead, they decide to own their actions and performance.

Their accountability ensures that when outcomes are reviewed, each team member can gain crucial and specific development advice based off of their ability to be honest and self-aware about their contributions, leading to better results in the future.


Ultimately, being accountable is not always easy, but it is always important.

Here are some ways that you can build greater accountability in your team.


Take the lead

When trying to implement any change, it is important to lead by example. By modelling accountability around your team members, it will be incredibly helpful in showing them how they can do the same.

This may be tough to do yourself if this is not something you are used to, however remember that holding yourself accountable does not mean telling yourself off and administering unnecessary punishment.

It means owning your part in whatever unfolded, and deciding and committing to how things will be different next time.


Create Ownership

There is every chance that team members may lash out and blame others, when they do not feel any responsibility for a task themselves.

A great way to help people to find the ability to be responsible can come from making them responsible.

This could mean awarding people decision making powers or allowing people to lead certain elements of a task.


Culture Shifts

What do these shifts look like?

Well… when creating a culture of accountability, there needs to be clear expectations set of team members, an environment that promotes the giving and receiving of feedback, as well as the celebration of achievements.

When it comes to setting clear expectations, ensure that every team member knows what their role is and what is expected of them. This can be done through regular meetings, goal setting, and job descriptions.

Growing the amount of high quality feedback conversations that occur within a team comes from encouraging people to communicate openly and honestly. It also can involve showing people how feedback is something they should always look to award to others. Take a look here.

This culture becomes even stronger when you reward those who show accountability and hold those who do not, accountable.


Use data

It is very difficult to argue against facts. Although some people may still try.

By introducing tangible data and metrics into performance measurement, you can help people to take ownership of their stats and therefore, their performance.

This is also incredibly helpful in identifying areas where team members can use support and extra development.


Hold regular check-ins

By taking the time to sit with each team member and discuss their progress towards their goals, you are creating a perfect chance to talk through their actions and award any feedback and recognition that could be helpful towards them achieving their targets.

These meetings will give them a feeling of accountability as to how they then act after.


Before you go!

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Alex & The Excel Team

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