The deadline of the project is at 2pm sharp, today.
You arrive at work early, eager to close the deal but suddenly you find your boss in extreme distress. “We need to talk,” he says.
It turns out the client has asked for a change in the design, and no one in the team follows up on that request. Now, you have four hours to make everything right.
Assembling your team members, you talk about the slip-up. Soon enough, everyone starts to blame the person next to them.
When working in a team, accountability is crucial in facing adversity or challenges. Mistakes happen but at times we often forget that it’s not what happens that matters, rather what we can do about it that is important.
Here are three ways to strengthen accountability and prevent the above scenario from happening:
1. Shift your focus: From problems to solutions
When faced with adversity, don’t dwell on problems but focus on solutions instead. While one member can research for more information, another can start preparing the tools and three others can brainstorm for more ideas. Think creatively.
2. Ask for help: Find resources to solve the problem
It’s true that the mind goes blank when clouded with problems. Faced with this situation, the team can ask senior colleagues for a fresh set of perspectives.
Remember, whatever problem your team has at the moment, it is very likely that someone else in the room has dealt with it before.
3. Fostering trust: It’s not about you and I, it’s about us
Team members who truly trust each other will face problems as a team and not as an individual, making it less likely for them to blame each other. In order to build trust, you need to know your own responsibilities and understand the mutual goals of the project.
One of the characteristics of high-performance teams is having strong accountability. Now imagine if your team members have each other’s backs, wouldn’t you want to be a part of it?