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Obstacle #10 Lack of Accountability (Teamwork Tuesday)

{ 4 comments… add one }

About two months ago I asked the question on several LinkedIn Groups “What is so difficult about teamwork?” I received well over 200 responses. My intention was to rank each of them and then figure out ways we can create better teamwork.


Today we will discuss obstacle number Ten, our final obstacle – “Lack of Accountability.”

To access the posts on all of the teamwork barriers click here.


  1. Lack of a competent leader (27)
  2. Lack of goals and goal alignment (26)
  3. Individuals focused on themselves and not the team (21)
  4. Lack of understanding of team members (20)
  5. Lack of clarity on team roles, and/or the purpose and vision of the team (15)
  6. Lack of focus on team rewards and appreciation (12)
  7. Lack of spending time together as a team (9)
  8. Poor communication (8)
  9. Lack of trust (7)
  10. Lack of accountability (6)

Lack of accountability can be a big obstacle on teams. On many teams only the leader holds team members accountable. But on high performing teams, the team members hold each other accountable. When team members are focused on the results together, they are more likely to hold one another accountable. This is very common on sports team. For example, a football receiver drops the ball and then the quarterback immediately holds him accountable by letting him know he needs to focus. Everyone on the team is working towards the same goal, to win the game. Individual recognition is set aside for the betterment of the team.


So, how do you ensure your teams are accountable? What stories do you have to tell when it worked and when it didn’t? Please provide your comments below. We look forward to hearing them. Thanks!

Mike Rogers

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Leave a Comment

  • Tim Wilson October 14, 2009, 2:26 pm

    I would like to provide a different perspective around example. Your example of the football receiver is a good one. But I think one could argue that it’s more about feedback than accountability. The dropped pass may be the function of the receive taking his eyes off the ball for a split second to see it he had room to run, his focus was making extra yardage after he caught the ball. Instead he should have focused on catching the ball then try to make the extra yardage. When he gets back the huddle, the quarterback gives him immediate feedback, he needs to focus – catch the ball first – then go the extra yards.
    The example of team accountability would be when another team member would say before the execution of the play, “you know in situations like this you sometimes think about trying to make a few extra yards after you catch the ball, catch the ball first.” Other members also chime in saying the catch the ball first. This is team accountability because they know the tendency of their team member and they all remind him the immediate goal is to catch the ball – which would lead to a first down – and the log term goal of scoring touchdowns to win the game.

  • Mike Rogers October 15, 2009, 2:21 pm

    Thanks Tim. So if what I hear you saying, you are saying that accountability is more before the behavior is manifested? Please explain a little more. I appreciate your comments.


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