Five ways to transform solo achievers into group contributors

by HCA22 Mar 2017

Do some of your team members have a mindset that is self-serving, with an attitude of independence from the pack?  

“Solo artists challenge high performance by thwarting the valued hallmarks of ownership and accountability,” said Muffy Churches, executive coach and author of Coach Yourself.

According to a multi-year workplace accountability study involving over 40,000 participants, ‘Partners in Leadership’, this worrying trend is on the rise.  

“In the study, the concept of ‘accountability’ emerged as one of the more significant factors playing a role in a company’s success, but results also showed a significant decline in that space,” said Churches.

Authors of recent bestseller ‘Crucial Accountability’ share a VitalSmarts case study stating that, “When an IT group improved crucial accountability practices by 22%, quality improved over 30%, productivity climbed almost 40%, and costs plummeted almost 50%, all while employee satisfaction swelled 20%”.   

“This provides a strong case for the findings that business results will strongly reflect the degree to which team members are able to serve the whole, not just the part,” she said.

Churches offers five tips for converting solo participants into team players with an enhanced sense of commitment to group goals.

Create a trusting environment:

Set expectations for team engagement that is non-judgmental, accepting, respectful and honest.  When team members feel ‘safe’ with each other, they are willing to risk vulnerability to the group, and will contribute ideas, suggestions, and constructive feedback without fearing hidden agendas, ridicule, cynicism or one upmanship. Interpersonal trust is key.

Encourage robust discussion:

Once a safe environment has been created, generate round table solution-focused conversation in which everyone provides input.  Having the opportunity to have ones’ ideas heard and considered inspires ownership of and participation in any eventual strategic plan of action agreed upon.

Communicate a clear vision:  
Everyone needs to know exactly what it is they are going to be accountable to.  Make it your responsibility to clarify in detail the desired end result of any plan of action, decision, or goal.  Ensure that not only is a vivid picture of desired outcomes painted but also that the team has a clear view of the process and attributes for engagement to which they are to hold each other accountable.

Ensure commitment

Having confirmed that the team understands the rules of the accountability game, what ‘success’ looks like and their specific role within that dynamic, request a pledge- A commitment to those exact actions, work values and attitudes that will certify the outcome envisioned comes to fruition, placing team results over ego issues.

Promote real-time peer feedback

Having set the scene for the creation of an environment that serves as an effective framework for accountability, all good intentions will crumble as soon as a blind eye is turned to low performance standards. Provide your team with both your permission and expectation that each will hold the other accountable- responsible to a primary focus on agreed results and all the enacted team values and behaviours that go hand in hand with making that happen.  

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  • by Karen 24/03/2017 5:02:38 PM

    I think it is important to acknowledge both individual and team efforts at work. This is not always an easy thing to do, but management needs to communicate both the value of people as individuals, and within the context of the team and teamwork.

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