Embracing Accountability

The Five Behaviors and Embracing Accountability

Accountability has become a buzzword—so overused and with so many different interpretations—that it has lost much of its meaning. In the context of teamwork, however, accountability is:

  • the willingness of team members to call their peers on performance or behaviors that might hurt the team

The usual source of dysfunction in this area is the unwillingness of team members to tolerate the interpersonal discomfort that accompanies calling a peer on his or her behavior. This includes the more general tendency to avoid difficult conversations. Functional teams overcome these natural inclinations, opting instead to “enter the danger” with one another.


It’s not uncommon for people to be unwilling to tolerate the interpersonal discomfort that accompanies calling out a peer on his or her behavior, preferring to avoid difficult conversations. Effective teams overcome these natural inclinations, opting instead to ‘enter the danger’ with one another. Applying peer pressure is a good thing when it comes to workplace teams. It gives team members a sense of feeling trusted and respected, and members feel a responsibility to get things done right. 


DiSC styles tend to prefer receiving productive feedback in different ways: 


DiSC model 12 segments

D coworkers prefer a straightforward delivery.

i coworkers want a positive explanation.

S coworkers prefer a considerate but direct delivery.

C coworkers want a truthful, logical explanation.


A Team That Avoids Accountability…

Creates resentment among team members who have different standards of performance 

Encourages mediocrity

Misses deadlines and key deliverables

Places an undue burden on the team leader as the sole source of discipline


A Team That Embraces Accountability…

Ensures that poor performers feel pressure to improve

Identifies potential problems quickly by questioning one another’s approaches without hesitation

Establishes respect among team members who are held to the same high standards

Avoids excessive bureaucracy around performance management and corrective action



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