Accountability on Teams

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Accountability Influences Success

‘Passing the Buck’ or ‘The Buck Stops Here’

Who is Buck? Apparently, the term was historically used in poker. Metaphorically, the term is used today with accountability, or potentially more directly synonymous with blame. We can take action through our thoughts, words, emotions, and bodies.  With our actions, otherwise known as our performance, we can encounter accountability. Success is influenced by our performance aligning with the essence of accountability.

Man observing different weather examples

Accountability Defined

In teams, we can define personal accountability as complete ownership of our own responsibilities to perform as a team player and taking action.   We can define peer-to-peer accountability as complete ownership of our team’s responsibilities to perform together as team players and taking action.

11 Tips for Team Accountability

When the time comes to align with the essence and to meet one’s accountabilities on a team, here are a few of the many approaches that we can all take:

  • Maintain our commitments and achieve our responsibilities to the team.
  • Confirm expectations, including timelines.
  • Check our understanding. Check others understanding.
  • Give our best. Honestly check-in and self-assess if we’re doing our best.
  • Be willing to try and try more than once.
  • Share updates, progress, and challenges with our responsibilities and commitments.
  • Admit mistakes and weaknesses, recognizing them as opportunities to improve and get better. Prioritize learning, and moving forward. Apologize when needed.
  • Take initiative. Be solutions oriented.
  • Focus on what we can control and influence, versus what we can’t do, or what everyone else is doing or not doing.
  • Ask for feedback. Give feedback.
  • Ask for help and support. Get additional training and resources. Offer help and support.

Taking Accountability

We all have choices and we all have influence.  Here’s a short story on the impact of not choosing and influencing accountability.

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought Anybody could do it.
But Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
Author Unknown

When we choose accountability and influence accountability, there is certainly no need to pass ‘Buck’.

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