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Team and Individual Accountability

As we flip the calendar from 2014 to 2015, we enter the award and playoff season. Hollywood is represented by the Golden Globes and Academy Awards, while sports are represented by NCAA tournaments, the Super Bowl and, much later on, the Stanley Cup. A recurring message in the sports world is that of accountability. When a team is failing, it is impossible to fire the entire team, but the coach is often held accountable and is released.

1024px-Youth_Hockey_OfficialIn the world of hockey, accountability will soon reach the individual level thanks to video recordings. If you don’t know the difference between boarding and checking from behind, between fore-checking (legal) and charging (a penalty), or between interference and incidental contact – you’re not alone. However, every coach, player and parent of a PeeWee should know the differences. Debilitating injuries with lifelong consequences can depend upon safe play.

Recently, a new service has entered the arena which will hold coaches, players, referees and even parents accountable. LiveBarn.com will install high-tech cameras in amateur and youth hockey rinks across the United States and Canada. For a nominal fee (currently $14.95 per family) coaches, players and parents will have permanent access to the footage. When someone is always looking, the theory goes, everyone will behave better. Accountability matters.

Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team In the business world, accountability is one of the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team. One of the key aspects of accountability is a shared understanding that it’s okay to call one another on sub-par performance. However, many people are reluctant to hold others accountable because they fear the ensuing conflict or are worried about repercussions. It’s important to understand that holding one another accountable will be easier if everyone accepts this as a part of productive teamwork.

Signs that a team is avoiding accountability and potential issues:

  • Resentment is created among team members who have different standards of performance.
  • Mediocrity is encouraged.
  • Deadlines and key deliverables are missed.
  • An undue burden is placed on the team leader as the sole source of discipline.

Ways to embrace accountability and potential results:

  • Ensure that poor performers feel pressured to improve.
  • Identify potential problems quickly by questioning one another’s approaches without hesitation.
  • Establish respect among team members who are held to the same high standards.
  • Avoid excessive bureaucracy around performance management and corrective action.

You probably don’t have video cameras in your conference rooms and cubicles to monitor workplace “fore-checking” and “charging,” however team accountability can be taught, encouraged and monitored. Contact ECCO International to learn more.

Source: The Denver Post, “Coming to a hockey rink near you: accountability,” Mike Chambers, Dec. 20. 2014