How Accountable Teams Drive Performance in Challenging Times
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How Accountable Teams Drive Performance in Challenging Times

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The future of work is changing, and new rules are being written before our very eyes.

Teams are more important now than ever before, but many of them are struggling to step up and drive high performance when it matters most.

Creating a Culture of Accountability

Today’s infographic from the bestselling author Dr. Vince Molinaro demonstrates how leaders can create an environment where truly accountable teams can flourish, and employees are inspired to do their best work.

accountable teams infographic

>> Download Dr.Vince Molinaro’s How to Build an Accountable Team

Accountable Leaders Build Accountable Teams

Weak, mediocre teams demonstrate behaviors that can breed a toxic work environment, such as working in isolation or not demonstrating trust among other team members.

In order to combat mediocre teams, leaders must create a culture of accountability in their organization where individuals can step up and be accountable.

“No group ever becomes a team until they can hold themselves accountable as a team.”

—The Discipline of Teams, Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith

When teams take full responsibility for their actions, they manage most issues themselves rather than looking to leadership to solve problems.

Overall, accountable teams demonstrate two critical dimensions: team clarity and team commitment.

1. Team Clarity

Accountable teams should have full clarity about the business they operate in by having the ability to:

  • Anticipate external trends both in and outside of their industry.
  • Have clarity on the strategy and purpose of their organization.
  • Understand the expectations of their stakeholders and the interdependencies that exist with other parts of the company.
  • Know what needs to get done and how it needs to be done.

2. Team Commitment

Accountable teams also demonstrate a high degree of commitment needed to deliver results. They do so in the following ways:

  • Have a deep sense of commitment to driving success.
  • Invest time in working across the organization.
  • Work to make their team as strong as it can be.
  • Show a deep commitment to one another.

As a leader, these two dimensions are invaluable as a way of thinking about driving mutual accountability and sustaining high performance for their organization over the long-term.

Accountable Teams Drive Extraordinary Performance

Leaders who invest in leveling up their team and promote a culture of accountability can experience transformational benefits, such as:

  • Everyone is clear and aligned on what needs to get done.
  • Each team member is accountable, pulls their weight, and goes to great lengths to support one another.
  • Everyone feels safe challenging one another and confronting issues head-on without fear.
  • Team members leverage the unique capabilities of others.
  • Everyone works hard but also manages to have fun and celebrate success.

These benefits translate to strong results within organizations. In fact, research shows that high- performing companies have more accountable teams compared to average or poorly performing companies.

The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of its Parts

Whether it’s an executive team, a departmental team, a cross-functional team, or even a team made up of external partners, organizations have become increasingly reliant on teams to achieve success and guide them through uncertainty.

Given the importance of teams in today’s ever-changing world, it is clear we need to increase our efforts when it comes to building truly accountable teams.

As a leader, you are being counted on to demonstrate accountability and create high-performing teams. Are you stepping up?

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Visualizing Gender Diversity in Corporate America

The gender gap in corporate America is still prevalent, especially in leadership roles. In 2021, only 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs were female.

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Where's the Diversity in Corporate America?

There’s been a massive push to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

However, it appears corporate America still has a ways to go, particularly when it comes to diverse representation in corporate leadership roles. In 2021, only 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs were female. Of those females, 85% of them were white.

This graphic by Zainab Ayodimeji highlights the current state of diversity in corporate America, reminding us that there are still significant gender and racial gaps.

Graphic showing the breakdown of female CEOs on the Fortune 500 since 1970

Five Decades of Fortune 500 CEOs

Since 1955, Fortune Magazine has released its annual Fortune 500 list that ranks the 500 largest U.S. companies, ranked by total revenue earned each fiscal year.

For the first 17 years of its publication, there were no female CEOs on the Fortune 500. Then in 1972, Katharine Graham became CEO of the Washington Post, making her the first-ever female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Following Graham, a few other women joined the ranks, such as Marion Sandler, co-CEO of Golden West Financial Corporation, and Linda Wachner, CEO of Warnaco Group. But apart from those few outliers, Fortune 500 CEOs remained almost exclusively male for the next few decades.

At the turn of the millennium, things started to change. Women-led companies started to appear more frequently on the Fortune 500. Here’s a breakdown that shows the number of women CEOs on the list, from 1999 to 2021:

YearFortune 500 # of Women CEOs% of Total
199920.4%
200020.4%
200130.6%
200271.4%
200371.4%
200481.6%
200591.8%
2006102.0%
2007132.6%
2008122.4%
2009153.0%
2010153.0%
2011122.4%
2012183.6%
2013204.0%
2014244.8%
2015244.8%
2016214.2%
2017326.4%
2018244.8%
2019336.6%
2020397.8%
2021418.2%

Slowly, women of color started to appear on the list as well. In 1999, Andrea Jung, the CEO of Avon, became the first East Asian female CEO in the Fortune 500. And in 2009, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns was the first Black woman to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

By 2021, 41 of the Fortune 500 companies were led by women—8.2% of the overall list.

While this increasing total is a clear trend, it’s important to note that women make up nearly 50% of the global population, meaning genders are still not equally represented in corporate leadership.

The Financial Benefits of Diverse Workplaces

Along with the number of societal and cultural benefits that come with a diverse workplace, research indicates that diversity can also be financially beneficial to corporations, and enhance a company’s bottom line.

A study by the Council of Foreign Relations found that gender equality in the workforce could add up to $28 trillion in global GDP.

According to the Council of Foreign Relations, a number of policy changes are needed to help close the gender gap in the workforce, such as legislation to promote women’s access to capital and financial services, or tax credits for childcare support.

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Misc

10 Ways You Can Build Leadership Communities in a Hybrid World of Work

Feeling disconnected? This infographic teaches you how to build strong leadership communities in your organization in a hybrid working world.

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The world has never been more connected. Yet many of us feel more disconnected than ever before.

In particular, CEOs and managers can often feel isolated from their peers, and therefore crave a greater sense of community and belonging. This lack of social connection can have a detrimental impact on both them and their team—putting the future of their company at risk.

Leading in a Hybrid World of Work

This infographic from bestselling author Vince Molinaro dives into the ways you can build a strong community of leaders in your organization, enabling you to more successfully execute on strategy, drive growth, and deliver results.

leadership

>>Download Dr.Vince Molinaro’s Community Builder Ebook Today

The Critical Need for Leadership Communities

In today’s world, many leaders have been conditioned to work and lead in a way that is individualistic and hyper-competitive, which leads to problematic outcomes including:

  • Limiting innovative ideas
  • Causing overwhelm and stress
  • Limiting diversity and a sense of inclusion
  • Promoting a macho culture
  • Creating heroes and zeros in organizations

This outdated model breeds a weak leadership culture. Even though leadership expectations are higher than ever, very few companies boast a strong leadership culture. In fact, just 15% of companies have the culture they need to succeed.

What does a weak leadership look like?

Weak Leadership Cultures

When leaders demonstrate the following behaviors, organizations are at risk of developing a weak leadership culture:

  1. They lack clarity around strategic priorities.
  2. They fail to inspire the people they lead.
  3. They tolerate ineffective and mediocre leadership.
  4. They demonstrate animosity for the success of other leads, teams, and departments.
  5. They work at cross-purposes with each other.
  6. They prop themselves up while downplaying the contribution of others.
  7. They don’t engage stakeholders.
  8. They regularly badmouth others and throw colleagues under the bus.
  9. They withhold information as a way to retain power over their peers.
  10. They act as bystanders when colleagues need help.

When these negative dynamics become apparent, organizations pay a significant price. According to a report from Qualtrics, 40% of managers see a decline in their mental health, while another study shows that 66% of leaders have checked out entirely.

It is clear that building a strong community of leaders has become critical as the world continues to become even more complex and uncertain. Let’s dive into some of the ways you can build a greater sense of belonging in your organization today.

The Characteristics of Leadership Communities

Here are the 10 characteristics and behaviors that promote a strong community of leaders. Does this describe your organization’s leadership culture?

CharacteristicAligned Behavior
1. Have clarity on the strategic direction of the organizationBe determined to deliver on the most important strategic outcomes for the company
2. Create excitement about the futureSpread optimism about the company, even through adversity
3. Share a common aspiration to be great as leadersCommit to their roles as leaders and help other leaders thrive
4. Lead with a united front and a one-company mindsetLead in the best interest of the whole organization
5. Hold each other accountable by calling out unproductive leadership behaviorDemonstrate the courage to call out misaligned and unacceptable behaviors
6. Celebrate success and key milestonesIgnite passion by recognizing others and showing progress towards goals
7. Break down silos and collaborate effectivelyIdentify accountability gaps that weaken the leadership culture
8. Keep internal politics and personal agendas to a minimumBehave in a direct and transparent manner with peers
9. Demonstrate resilience and resolve in the face of adversityTurn to each other while navigating tough challenges
10. Support one another and have each other’s backsBuild high-trust relationships with one another

Most leaders want to be in an environment where there is real clarity, alignment, commitment, and mutual support—it just takes one accountable leader to make it happen.

The Benefits to Creating a Strong Community of Leaders

If done right, the effects of building a strong community of leaders can be extraordinary:

  • Promotes a stronger sense of belonging.
  • Allows for greater knowledge sharing.
  • Encourages higher levels of performance.
  • Creates a culture of accountability.
  • Improves employee engagement.

Moreover, research shows that employee engagement is directly linked to a company’s culture and value system. In fact, employee engagement levels can reach up to 72% when managers work well with each other.

With the working world transforming before our very eyes, it’s time to establish a new leadership contract so that CEOs and managers can lead their organizations successfully into the future.

Do you have what it takes to be a community builder? Download your Ebook to discover practical strategies you can apply today.

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