When Teams Lack Accountability

AccountabilityAccountability is a term that gets overused in the workplace and thus loses some of its power. Here’s a good definition from Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (Jossey-Bass, 2002).

“When it comes to teamwork, I define accountability as the willingness of team members to remind one another when they are not living up to the performance standards of the group.” ~ Patrick Lencioni

Here’s why this is so important:

“Peer pressure and the distaste for letting down a colleague will motivate a team player more than any fear of authoritative punishment or rebuke.”

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Dysfunctional Teams Lack Commitment

Dysfunctional-teamsDysfunctional teams cannot be blamed for all business failures, but they play a major role in unsuccessful projects and missed goals. In his acclaimed bestseller, organizational consultant Patrick Lencioni identifies The Five Dysfunctions of a Team:

  1. Absence of trust
  2. Fear of conflict
  3. Lack of commitment
  4. No accountability
  5. Lack of attention to results

No team functions well without trust in their leaders. Equally important is trust among team members. Without trust, people don’t openly debate the issues and explore new ideas. Read More »

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When Team Conflicts Are Ignored

Team-conflictsWhen teams avoid conflict at all costs, it impedes their effectiveness. A survey found that 91 percent of high-level managers believe teams are the key to success. But the evidence doesn’t always support this assertion. Many teamwork-related problems remain hidden from view, including fear of conflict, the second dysfunction of Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (Jossey-Bass, 2002).

Fear of Conflict in Teams

Lack of trust within a team inevitably leads to fear of conflict, confrontation, criticism and/or reprisal. When teammates and leaders are seen as potential threats, people adopt avoidance tactics. This sets up an artificial harmony that has no productive value. There is no true consensus, just a risk-preventing sentiment of “yes” feedback. True critique is avoided. Genuine solutions are not explored, and the team functions poorly.

I’ve seen this dynamic at work when I’m consulting in businesses. Everything looks good on the surface, but feelings and resentments build because people don’t feel free to express disagreement. Read More »

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Can We Really Fix Dysfunctional Teams?

dysfunctional-teams

Organizations waste vast amounts of time, effort and money each year by failing to recognize or correct dysfunctional teams. In spite of dismal success rates, many leaders fail to fix dysfunctional teams.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers study of 200 global companies across various sectors―involving more than 10,000 projects―found less than 3% successfully completed their plans. Similar research reveals 60%–70% project failure rates. In the United States alone, IT project failures cause estimated losses of up to $150 billion per year. Read More »

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Fear of Failure: Name It, Claim It, Reframe It

Fear-of-failureWho hasn’t dealt with fear of failure in one’s career, at one time or another? Several process-oriented changes can lessen the effects of failure or reduce its likelihood. In general, conquering fear of failure is a process of naming it, claiming it and reframing it.

Robert Kelsey, author of What’s Stopping You?: Why Smart People Don’t Always Reach Their Potential and How You Can (Capstone, 2012), suggest some practical steps for dealing with fear of failure. Read More »

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Fear of Failure: Perspective Is Everything

Fear-of-failureLiving with frequent fear of failure is a significant personal struggle. While fear may not be completely eliminated, it can be overcome. A major shift in perspective is required—something with which an experienced leadership coach can assist you.

Robert Kelsey, author of What’s Stopping You?: Why Smart People Don’t Always Reach Their Potential and How You Can (Capstone, 2012), offers good suggestions.

Begin by recognizing that no one is immune to failure. It happens to everyone. Coming to grips with fear, understanding that it’s real and knowing if it’s affecting your leadership (and life) are steps in the right direction. Fear is not always bad. Healthy fears allow us to respect and remain aware of potential hazards. Read More »

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What Causes Fear of Failure?

Fear-of-failureI’ve been discussing leaders’ challenges and a big one is fear of failure, even though many refuse to admit to anyone they might feel it.

Robert Kelsey, author of What’s Stopping You?: Why Smart People Don’t Always Reach Their Potential and How You Can (Capstone, 2012), offers some background on causes. I think he offers some valuable insights on what’s behind this debilitating emotion. Read More »

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How Leaders Recognize Fear of Failure

Fear-of-FailureFear of failure has several telltale—and observable—signs. You’re likely to set your ambitions too low or too high, explains entrepreneurship expert Robert Kelsey, author of What’s Stopping You?: Why Smart People Don’t Always Reach Their Potential and How You Can (Capstone, 2012).

  • Goals set too low reflect a lack of self-confidence and a fear of achieving normal benchmarks, he explains in a 2012 CNN.com article.
  • Conversely, goals set too high serve as a mask for your insecurities. Failure is expected, as no one could possibly achieve these targets—which means there shouldn’t be any criticism. Liken it to an attempt to swim the English Channel in rough seas: No one is expected to accomplish it, so we bestow admiration on those who try, yet fail.

 Procrastination

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The Great Leadership Challenge:
Fear of Failure

Fear-of-FailureOf all the challenges leaders face, none is more pervasive yet hidden than fear of failure.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”Robert F. Kennedy

Leadership is a tough job that requires courage. Doubts, insecurities and fears make organizational challenges more difficult and, in extreme cases, insurmountable. No matter how confident you may appear, anxiety can occur at pivotal times in your career.

Being able to talk about your fears is best done in a confidential coaching relationship. Fears are normal emotions that emerge in times of crisis. It’s been said that courage has no benchmark unless one grasps the reality of fear. Fears are real, often strong and quite disruptive, but your response to them defines your leadership hardiness. Read More »

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Shift Your Mindset for Success:
Some Really Practical Tips

Mindset If you’ve ever suspected you’ve got more potential than you’re actually achieving, then part of the problem may be your mindset. The way we handle mistakes and setbacks is determined by our thinking.  Two sets of mindsets come into play, according to Carol Dweck, Ph.D., author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Random House, 2006).

Unlike IQ, which remains relatively fixed, you can learn to shift your mindset so that you can grow and achieve more success.

Everyone has two basic mindsets: open to growth, or closed and fixed.

  1. An open mindset is open to learning and changing, believing one can always do better.
  2. The fixed mindset is entrenched in the belief that natural talents and abilities predetermine success.

Begin by paying attention to all the ways you are using a fixed mindset. You could be applying fixed thinking to your career, sports, and even to your relationships.

To replace a fixed mindset with a growth mindset you’ll need to embrace the things that have felt threatening, such as criticism, setbacks, and challenges. Are you willing to look at these things as learning opportunities instead of threats?

Remember: the first step toward change is awareness. You can’t shift your attitude until you’re aware of the many ways you’re using a fixed mindset.

Three Questions to Shift Your Mindset

Ask yourself these three questions to shift your thinking:

  1. What can I do today that would advance the knowledge and skills I need to be successful at my goal?
  2. What can I learn about this task so I can achieve it?
  3. Who can I ask for help or feedback with this goal?

The difference between successful people and those who are not is often as simple as asking yourself these three questions: what can I do, what can I learn, who can help me?

This is how a growth mindset starts to take hold in your brain. Instead of putting things off, or finding reasons and rationalizations for why you’re not succeeding like you think you should, answer these questions and then make a concrete plan.

It’s not enough to dream, although that helps to form a clear picture of what you want. You also need to visualize and articulate what you’re going to do, when you will do it, and specify the details.

The idea is not only to shift your mindset, but to also get into action. The best mindset in the world is worthless if you don’t follow through.

Recovering From a Closed Mindset

Anyone can change his or her mindset. It requires conscious practice and vigilance, as well as a willingness to be open to learning and changing.

For example: “At 9 a.m. tomorrow, I’ll set that appointment to discuss the situation. I’ll ask questions and receive feedback, without acting defensive. I won’t make excuses. I’ll take in information, be receptive, and thank others for their input. I can decide what to do later.”

Detailed plans that cover when, where, and how you’re going to do something lead to high levels of follow-through and increase your chances of success. Even if you have negative feelings, you must carry through with your growth-oriented plan.

How to Grow Your Mindset

Are you in a fixed or growth mindset in your workplace? Ask yourself the following questions, which will encourage an open mindset:

  1. Are there ways I could be less defensive about my mistakes?
  2. How could I profit more from the feedback I get?
  3. In what ways can I create more learning experiences for myself and my team?
  4. How can I help myself and my team get mentoring or coaching?
  5. In what ways can I create a culture of self-examination, collaboration, and teamwork?
  6. What are the signs of groupthink in my work group?
  7. How can I encourage alternative views and constructive criticism?

The idea is that by adopting a mindset open to learning, you’re not afraid of risks because they’re part of the learning and growing process. What do you think? As always, I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call, 704-827-4474. Or, you can reach me here and on LinkedIn.

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