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Accountability Builds Teams

There is no stronger bond between people than shared responsibility for one another. How leaders design an environment that expects human cooperation will affect how the people around them develop a sense of accountability between one another, or in some high-tension environments, may inadvertently achieve high levels of responsibility between members but in a manner that protects its members from the system.

Establish accountability between individuals by drawing associations between decisions individuals make an impact on those around them. Shifting as much accountability between staff and manager to team puts the relationship dynamics into the people expected to depend on each other instead of centralizing it between the manager and the individuals.

People need to have reasons to move into each other’s space, to have ways to support each other and to be provided with enabling constraints that would allow people to reshape how they organize themselves for the sake of overcoming the challenges presented to them.


  • Require that the staff designs the work schedule.
  • If your environment requires time off approval, the team must decide on the best timing.
  • Delegate the “how” of a solution to the team with enabling constraints, such as a deadline, and each of them will need to present some part of the solution.
  • If you run a product, delegate the support rotation schedule to the team to manage. Whenever someone asks the manager what the plan should look like or if they would like to switch with someone on the team, let them work that out with the team.

As a manager, listen to how the team members present solutions. Seek coherent solutions and not the right ones, and find ways to allow your teams to earn your trust.