Chapter 1
Chapter 1: Introduction

Remote Team Accountability

5 ways to create the right culture
Chapter 1: Introduction
Does your carefully assembled team struggle to meet deadlines and deliver the level of work you know they are capable of? Do team members come to you with complaints about their colleagues failing to carry their share of the load? Do you feel like you spend more time managing crises than people?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you and your team might have an accountability problem.

Building and maintaining accountability is a challenge every organization and team faces. But achieving accountability can be particularly challenging for remote teams because of the physical and psychological separation characteristic of remote work.

Latent collaboration issues become very visible when we add remote into the mix. ~Nassim Kammah, Mailchimp

However, with a consistent and systematic approach, your team can overcome its accountability problem. In this ebook, we explain why team accountability is crucial to your remote team’s success and provide you with a step-by-step guide to achieving accountability for your remote team. 

Your remote team won’t thrive without accountability

Teams are formed to work toward a common goal or goals. The tasks they perform are often highly interdependent and a failure of one can trigger a cascading failure of many. 

To succeed, your team members must trust one another. Every team member must be able to count on every other team member to fulfil their obligations. Promises must be kept and expectations met with regard to delivery dates, resource usages, and quality of work. 

Trust among your remote team members is built on a foundation of accountability. 

When trust is present, people step forward and do their best work, together, efficiently. The align around a common purpose, take risks, think outside the box, have each other’s backs, and communicate openly and honestly. ~Dennis Reina, Michelle Reina, David Hudnut, Center for Creative Leadership

Without a sense of trust backed by accountability, your team’s individual and group performance will suffer.

Low accountability causes lowered team and individual performance

A recent study completed by the leadership training company, VitalSmarts, found that 9 out of 10 team members say someone else on their team is dropping the ball when it comes to meeting deadlines, keeping track of tasks, or prioritizing their work. The study also found that these errors and missteps reduce a team’s overall performance by an average of 24%. 

The consequences of missed deadlines or miscommunications are often magnified for remote teams where differences in work schedules and time zones can turn a two-hour delay of a deliverable into a full day of lost work. 

Low accountability causes lowered employee morale and engagement

In addition to team-level performance and productivity costs, a lack of accountability results in personal and personnel costs. 

Look closely at a toxic workplace and you will find that accountability is missing. 

In a low- or no-accountability environment where poor performance or bad behavior goes unaddressed, your team members will quickly become frustrated and unengaged. When teammates fail to meet deadlines or deliver substandard work, trust breaks down and collaboration comes to a halt. As underperformers’ work begins to affect individual and team metrics, you can expect your high-achievers to begin looking for the nearest exit.

Team accountability and retaining top talent: 49% of high-performers say good relations with co-workers is the reason they choose to stay at their current job. Employees who rate their manager’s performance poorly are 4x more likely than other employees to look for a new job.

Team accountability strengthens the trust bonds among your team members and prevents small problems from becoming major crises. Failures in accountability are costly for your organization and your team.

To learn how to unlock the power of team accountability, read on to chapter 2.