This is the fourth post in my series on “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. I am discussing the fourth dysfunction. Read about the first three dysfunctions: Absence of Trust, Fear of Conflict and Lack of Commitment.
Patrick Lencioni’s fourth dysfunction, Avoidance of Accountability, was my favorite to read about. I often think in action steps. Often you may hear me say, “What’s the game plan?” By this I mean, what is the objective and what are the steps to get there. This mentality guides me in my home and work life, but as Lencioni points out, achieving things as a team is more than just establishing a “game plan”—it’s about holding each other accountable.
I recently completed my MBA at Concordia University Texas and completing a program designed for working adults had its challenges. When projects were to be completed in groups, the workload was a little easier, but the coordination added another element of difficulty. After completing a few assignments last minute, my team decided we needed to work more efficiently. We knew we were all capable of completing assignments, but we were not holding each other accountable. This was holding us back from achieving great results.
To overcome this we took a new strategy to our team meetings. They ended with a clear decision on the direction of the project. We also would close with what would be accomplished by our next meeting or class and who would handle it. Because we established a goal and divided responsibilities, we were able to hold one another accountable. When asking someone how their part of the project was going, we were also able to ask for help when it was needed. This allowed us to truly work as a functional team.
Holding others accountable often makes us uncomfortable. We fear that people will see us as micromanaging or criticizing, but as it was noted on this blog earlier this week “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as WE are.” When objectives are clearly established, performance can be evaluated and we can hold each other accountable and ultimately be an efficient team and we can achieve the best possible results.