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Revolutionize Teamwork by Eric Coryell

Revolutionize Teamwork by Eric Coryell

Author:Eric Coryell
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Published: 2019-09-24T16:24:02+00:00


4.

Team Accountability and Decision-Making

We have talked about how teams typically deal with their issues:

Ignore them, avoid them, work around them, or hope they go away.

Talk about them behind each other’s backs.

Look to the leader to solve them (leader has the accountability).

Deal with them together as a team (team has the accountability).

You are in the first two phases of dealing with an issue whenever you find yourself dreading going to a meeting, checking out during a meeting, or leaving a meeting feeling as though you just had the life sucked right of you. These are all indicators that the team is working hard to not talk about the real issue(s) at hand and are usually waiting for the leader to step in.

Leaders experience similar feelings during phases one and two. But every leader has only a certain level of anxiety that he or she can tolerate. Once that threshold is reached, they have no choice but to jump in and take control to alleviate their anxiety. At that point, the leader will engage in some fashion and either make the decision or somehow take control of the situation. This pattern can repeat itself for a long time. Eventually, the leader gets frustrated because they feel they are carrying the load, while the group will often feel disempowered and micromanaged.

The irony is that while both sides may complain about it, they both actually love it. The leader has what he or she wants (control), and team members get what they want (to not have to take on the accountability and responsibility). If the team truly wanted accountability and responsibility, team members would leave in search of a leader who would provide that for them. If the leader wanted the team to take on more accountability, they wouldn’t tolerate team members not stepping up and taking it. As long as things are working, both sides can comfortably exist with this dynamic.

Problems arise when times get tough. Either the team will turn on the leader, or the leader will turn on the team. If the leader fails to solve all the problems or make the right decisions, the team will get scared and begin to fracture. Team members will blame the leader for their problems and in some cases try to move the leader out. If they are unsuccessful, the team will usually shut down and underperform. If the leader snaps first, he or she will often blame the team for not being accountable and start to engage in efforts to remove the nonperformers. The leader’s behavior will become even more dictatorial, and anxiety will rise in the team.

When should the leader take care of the issue, and when should the team? Most sides spend their time and energy pointing at each other. The team watches the leader carefully, and over time, its members start to form opinions about which decisions the leader wants to make and which are theirs. More often than not, they will err on the side of caution and assume the leader wants to do all the decision-making.



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