When a team has a desire to perform and has committed to a plan, it follows that no one wants to be the one to let the others in the team down, so peer-to-peer accountability should be a natural behaviour. The fact that it is rarely seen in teams indicates how unusual it is to see a team demonstrating the other behaviours which are enablers for peer-to-peer accountability. In addition to this, many people shy away from holding each other accountable for behavioural conduct because there aren’t clearly articulated expectations or standards. In these situations, team members may be reluctant to challenge peers because they feel standards are subjective not absolute.
Action plan: Set clear expectations for behavioural standards by creating a behavioural charter with the team. The simplest way to do this is to discuss what behaviours will actively promote the team achieving its goals and which ones will hinder them. Try to come up with a maximum of four enablers and two which hinder, then encourage the team to call each other out – both when colleagues display the positive behaviours and also if the unhelpful behaviours emerge. Remember in a team where everyone is driving to achieve a challenging goal, anyone displaying unhelpful behaviours may well be doing so because of a blindspot, so until someone points this out they will probably be unaware of the unintended negative impact they are having on others in the team.