Heightened accountability in teams requires leaders to be purposeful in their approach. And for that, you should have an edge over leadership team coaching who can build great accountability in teams under their direct supervision.

Last month I had the opportunity to participate in a “ride-along” with the City of Edmonton’s Fire Rescue Services. While spending the day with a team of firefighters, I observed the team in action on several calls and focused my attention on the role the captain played in leading his team.

Clearly in command, the captain stood back and let his team fulfill their roles. Without being overly directive, he provided support, coaching, and feedback as required.

The result was three-fold: Heightened accountability on the part of the team members, a leveraging of skills and abilities of individuals, and skill development for younger firefighters.

Grounded Leaders Help Building Accountability in Your Teams:

We are privileged to have the opportunity to work with many grounded leaders who acknowledge the key to outstanding results is tapping into the best thinking of those around them.

They have an acute awareness of both the power of “being the boss”, and the biases they bring to conversations will skew the direction the dialogue takes.

They can step back and be mindful of how they shape the conversation and, at the same time, can effectively contribute to the dialogue.

Tapping into the skills, knowledge, and expertise of your team is essential for success and performance in organizations and a significant differentiator.

Here are some insights on how leaders can set the stage for building team accountability and success:

1. Become Clear About Your Thinking

When interacting with members of your team, be clear about what is important to you. This includes your goals and priorities, expectations, and standards. Be clear about your principles and values are and provide ongoing information about the requirements of the team.

When you’re clear, you are better able to provide insight, clarify issues, and provide meaningful feedback at the moment.

2. Be Provocative in Preparing Your Team Accountability

Tapping into the best thinking of others is about disrupting their current perspective. Doing so requires you to be provocative. Set performance standards that are a stretch for the team, and articulate the issue, challenge, or opportunity from a different perspective.

This requires leaders to set the stage for meaningful interaction at the outset. Consider providing a briefing note or clearly describing the behaviors and actions observed and then linking these to what is important.

3. Structure the Dialogue to Allow for Free Flowing of Ideas and Perspectives

Openness is the key! Team members need to know that their contribution is important in building team accountability. Similarly, all participants should be allowed to speak up.

Leaders need to keep their attention on what’s happening and listen carefully to be better able to contribute insights and feedback later. Getting people engaged puts more relevant and good information on the table, which provides a better result.

4. Be a Participant and Not the Facilitator of the Team Conversation in Building Team Spirit

In the team environment, the leader often chairs the meeting. When team members believe the leader is controlling the discussion, dialogue can be stifled.

Managing the process can also make it difficult for the leader to both listen and contribute as a participant. Assigning an individual team member, the responsibility of being a process facilitator, can free the leader up to be a contributing member of the team and set the stage for more open dialogue.

5. Ensure Actions Follow Dialogue to Sustain Accountability

Tapping into the best thinking of the team is only useful if there is an output as a result of the conversation. An important closing step to any dialogue is confirming what actions will be taken.

A useful strategy for leaders is to have the team define those actions and then confirm with them the alignment of actions to what is truly important.

Share your strategies and insights: What do you do to facilitate leadership team coaching to build accountability in your team?