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The Best Kind of Accountability

I wrote last week about accountability. It definitely starts with the manager, but peer-to-peer accountability is extremely important to a high-performing team.


When team members go to their leader every time a peer doesn’t keep a commitment, it creates distraction, unnecessary politics, and erodes relationships. Team members become resentful of one another, and the leader gets pulled into situations that could have been better resolved without them.


5 Steps to Achieve Peer-to-Peer Accountability

This sounds “pie in the sky” but peer-to-peer accountability can be achieved by taking the following steps:


  1. The leader must demonstrate that he/she is willing to confront difficult situations and hold others accountable.

  2. There must be a sense of psychological safety (trust) on the team which results in members being willing to be vulnerable and put themselves out there without fear of being rejected or chastised.

  3. Team members need coaching from their leader encouraging them to handle situations directly with others with guidance/role play on how to best handle.

  4. Employee development on feedback, listening and other communication skills can help increase comfort and skill in having accountability conversations.

  5. Teams should collaboratively establish team guidelines or ground rules regarding how they will interact which includes behaviors and logistical items. These guidelines should be reviewed and reinforced regularly with the last item on the guidelines being, “I will hold myself and others accountable for adhering to these guidelines.”

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