10 Ways to Improve Team Morale and Produce Results

There are two very distinct sides to the accountability coin: one side of the coin is taking accountability yourself, and the flip side is holding other people accountable. Both are proven ways that, when practiced together, establishes collaboration and skyrockets productivity.


When individuals and teams take accountability, they make a personal choice to rise above their individual circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary to achieve desired results. To hold someone accountable means, “to effectively form, communicate, align, and inspect the fulfillment of an expectation in the positive, principled way that enables people to achieve results now and in the future.”


While all employees can make the positive choice to take self-accountability, it’s often much more challenging to hold others accountable. In fact, when asked the question, “Do you want to hold people accountable, and do you believe that you can?”, seven out of ten corporate leaders say that while they are willing and committed to holding others accountable, they don’t know-how.


How Did That Happen? is a New York Times bestselling leadership book that explores a methodology for holding others accountable in a proven and time-tested manner that improves morale and produces results.

Get inspired to start holding others accountable in a positive, principled way with these 10 quotes from How Did That Happen?

  1. In the strongest culture, everyone is accountable to everyone, regardless of position or the ability to influence others.
  2. We have learned a good rule of thumb: if you suspect your organization’s problem stems from a lack of motivation among workers, that’s the first issue you should tackle.
  3. When everyone in a culture adheres to a commitment to follow through, people believe all the promises, commitments, and deadlines they make with each other and this trust establishes and reinforces the positive accountability connections needed to accelerate business processes.
  4. Why does Organizational Integrity matter so much? The answer’s quite simple. When people do everything in their power to do what they say they will do, the work becomes predictable and commitments become a reality.
  5. Even the most able and willing people can still fall short of expectations. We have seen this time and again in organizations populated by talented people who are anxious to succeed and want to be a part of an enterprise that makes a difference in the world, but who, for some unknown reason, just do not deliver the results. They were willing and they were able, but they either lacked accountability or were operating in a culture that hurt their chances of succeeding.
  6. When it comes to holding people accountable and managing unmet expectations, accurately diagnosing the problem so that you can do something about it requires a clear sense of reality; it requires you to see things as they really are.
  7. Consider the difference between “trusting people” and “testing for results.” They reflect two different motivations. The latter suggests the gaze of Big Brother; the former conveys wanting to help people succeed in fulfilling key expectations. At the end of the day, you generally get what you inspect. If you do it well, you increase the likelihood of success.
  8. You “connect” with the people you work with as you share meaningful experiences and build a working relationship with them. As you have experiences holding people accountable, you form a unique connection with each person that we call your Accountability Connection.
  9. Once you take accountability for your part in the failure to deliver, you empower yourself to get more done through others. When you see yourself as part of the problem, you empower yourself to join the team that will do whatever it takes to solve it.
  10. People in a Culture of Accountability follow through to make sure they do what they say they will do. People in a Culture of Accountability commit themselves to get to the truth, no matter what. People in a Culture of Accountability feel free to say what needs to be said.

Effectively holding others accountable for delivering desired results is a continuous, dynamic process that involves establishing expectations, creating alignment among individuals and teams, and taking action when existing results do not match organizational goals. When leaders learn how to hold their teams accountable, performance improves, and the organization flourishes.

Dive deeper into these principles and discover more insights into how you can harness positive accountability.

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