You may be asking, what is the next level for your work or business? The next level – and the third step in our model – is gaining commitment and accountability from your employees to both your team and the business.
What do you get in return for this commitment? Your employees will want to all succeed as a team. They want to win!
Working seamlessly together, people will build off the work of their peers to generate better solutions and results for themselves and for the team. And, they’ll do it quicker. You’ll get 30% more or even double the results of ‘low commitment/low accountability’ teams. And, your work and personal life will be so much easier than those ‘other’ managers.
How Do You Get Full Commitment and Accountability?
First, you should have completed Step 1 and Step 2 in our 5 step process to building your high performance team. As a result, you’ve fully embrace your role as the conductor of your team. You’ve got the right people on your team. They know what’s expected of them, and they know they have your support to be successful in their roles. Up until now, you and each of your employees have been the main focus. Now, your focus shifts to the team as a whole.
High Trust Leads to High Commitment
Trust is just as critical in Step 3 as it is in Steps 1 and 2. When your employees trust and respect each other, they’ll commit to the team and be more accountable for their behavior – including following through on their work without you micro-managing.
You Can Accelerate Trust
Trust develops over time on a team, but you don’t have to rely solely on time. You can accelerate the trust-building process. People trust other people when they get to know them as individuals and when they know they, themselves, will be treated with trust and respect. So, help them get to know each other and to know what behavior to expect within the team.
I have seen trust grow when people simply find out more about their teammates’ backgrounds. Here are some questions you could discuss in a team session to accelerate trust building:
- Where did you grow up?
- How many kids were in your family?
- Where were you in the birth order?
- What was your favorite hobby or thing to do growing up?
- Who had the biggest influence on you growing up?
These may seem too personal and some may not feel comfortable at first with the idea. But most people love to talk about themselves. And the benefits are many.
Your team gets to know each other a bit more and often they’ll find they’ve had common experiences. They’ll also get information that will make it easier to have follow-up conversations and connect with their peers going forward. When people leave these discussions, I invariably witness informal continued discussions about something they heard someone else share. Sports teams, favorite restaurants, hobbies and other topics pop up that people can now discuss.
Share Styles and Work Preferences
A second exercise that can be invaluable is to have your employees share information about their personal styles and what works well, and not well, for them in their work. Communication is a great area to focus on and the use of a tool such as DiSC or MBTI can help facilitate the process.
These tools give people the words and a structure in which to share personal styles and work preferences with each other. For example, with the DiSC profile, someone who tends to have the ‘C’ or conscientiousness style can describe to the group how he or she likes work to be organized and logical and how he or she prefers to think through a question or problem before they talk about it. He or she can then talk about how to best work with them based on this style. Suddenly, others in the team who had issues with a team member who was ‘too quiet’ or ‘not approachable’ have new insight into their work style. They now know how to more effectively work with them.
Accountability Through Team Norms
People will work better together when they know what behavior is expected and what behavior is discouraged within their team. A third exercise to further build commitment and, especially, accountability to the team is to have the team develop team norms on how they want to work together.
A team norm might be something like ‘assume good intention’. This should be done after one or both of the above exercises have been completed so that employees are more comfortable with each other. If you have a new team or a team that has had inter-personal challenges, this can be extremely valuable.
Be clear up front with how the norms will be used. For example, I would encourage you to let the team know the rules will be visible. They’ll be posted. You’ll periodically review them. Second, you need to let them know you will follow up with anyone who seems to violate the team norms.
Work with the group to get the list down to 5-7 norms. I’d recommend you have the team then discuss behaviors that fall within the norms and behaviors that fall outside them. This will help everyone get on the same page. Once completed, send the rules out to the entire team. How you develop the team norms is key. They are the ‘team’s’ norms so have the team develop them. They will be much more like to buy in and be accountable for their own behavior if they’ve had a say in developing these norms.
That was the easy part. Now comes the more challenging part, which is actually living and enforcing the rules. The rules apply to the whole team, including you.
If you complete this work, the level of trust on your team will go up. Your employees will trust each other and they’ll be committed to the success of the team. You’ll be set up for the second part of Step 3, which is building commitment and accountability to the business. Stay tuned, we’ll discuss this in our next post.
Ready to dive into the 5 Steps to Building Your High Performance Team? Our new book, The Successful Manager’s Roadmap, walks you through the process to engage your employees and build a high performing team. This book presents the five steps in a fictional story of Jeremy, a manager who’s struggling with his business and his dysfunctional team. Click here to buy the book on Amazon, or sign up for our email list here and receive the first chapter for free.