Why Accountability is the Problem With Your Team

Secretary bad dayWhen people face adversity, when things don’t go exactly as planned, or when success does not come as easily as we feel it should, the first question many teammates will begin to hear, from friends or family or others outside their organization, is “what is the problem?”

This is a very important question to consider, and how YOU choose to answer it will determine the future course of events that your team will experience.

And I am here to tell you that, if you are truly interested in learning what the single biggest problem on your team is, there is a simple powerful answer.

And it is the same answer that G.K. Chesterton gave nearly a century ago when a newspaper posed a question to its readers, asking “What’s wrong with the world?”

G.K. Chesterton, a noted theological writer, is said to have responded with a very concise letter to the editor.

His reply was this:

“Dear sirs:

I am.


G.K. Chesterton.”

That is the message and internal dialogue of someone who gets it.

Claiming responsibility and being personally accountable for how your team performs is the key to powerful and productive leadership. 

Victims look for scapegoats and point fingers and look for excuses to explain away their failures and faults.  They look backward to criticize instead of looking forward to positively impact the NEXT PLAY.

Victors take ownership of results and recognize that THEY can impact every situation if they take the initiative to share encouragements and reminders with their teammates.

Rear view criticisms solve little.  Strong leaders, and great teammates, realize that they are responsible for being proactive influencers. 

I coached a tremendous point guard years ago who serves as a solid example of this. 

If one of his teammates forgot to block out and gave up a rebound to our opponent, the guard always felt it was HIS FAULT.  He took ownership of the mistake, and by doing so he claimed power to correct it.

He knew that HE could have said something before the shot was taken to remind his teammate of the importance of blocking out.  Similarly, if your teammates are not making enough sales, or showing up on time to meetings, YOU can take the initiative to offer reminders and encouragements to ensure that the team is more successful.

Team development begins with ONE person’s commitment to building a culture of responsibility.

The book QBQ – the question behind the question does a terrific job of exploring this idea of personal accountability.  It notes that victims often ask questions such as “Who didn’t…” or “Why isn’t…” are defeating and seeking blame, while questions such as “What can I do to…” or “How can I…” actually empower us to impact our situation instead of enduring it as victims.

When someone asks “What is wrong with your team?” a solid leader and conscientious teammate will always answer as G.K. Chesterton did – “I am.”

When we blame others, we must wait on them to change for our situation to improve.

If you want your team to get better faster and perform better immediately, claim the power of personal accountability.

If your team needs a boost of team motivation, contact Sean about a fun team building event or interactive speaking topic to inspire your organization.

You could also chose to follow Sean on twitter or to connect with Sean on LinkedIn to get additional information and teamwork resources!