High performing teams trust each other. Like raising an orchid, building trust requires a lot of attention and dedication to nurture, but it can be broken by a single mistake.
If you cannot trust your teammates, morale will go down. If you cannot trust your manager, you will hate to go to work. If you cannot trust your employee, you will avoid giving them important work.
Accountability is one of the big inputs to trust. Can you depend on your co-worker’s deliverable to be ready in time and quality when you need it? Or do you need to chase them down, or worst case have to fix issues yourself in the last minute?
Decide if you commit, but once you do it, do it fully.
Accountability does not mean that you have to say yes to everything. However, once you do, make it a personal promise. Make it a matter of personal pride and values to come through on your promises.
Asking for help – be specific
Be specific when you ask someone for help. Don’t make ambiguous statements like “Someone should do X.” No one will feel responsible. In first responder training, they teach you to point to a person and tell them exactly what to do, otherwise no one will hear you.
Ask directly, explaining the ‘why’: “In order to achieve X, can you do Y by Z?”
Agreeing to help – treat it as a personal promise
When you are asked to help, you don’t have to say ‘yes’. You don’t have to agree to the timeline right away. It’s ok to explain tradeoffs if you take on that new task. It’s ok to ask what drives the timeline and offer a different date that you can make. Ask questions, understand reason and priority, be clear what you can do by when before you commit.
Once you commit you commit. It’s not ok to pay lip service and then let the other person hang. It’s not a badge of honor to miss a promise because you were “too busy”.
You need to make a personal promise or say “no”. Right there and then. Don’t leave it ambiguous, hoping a miracle happens along the way or everyone will forget.
When you do commit and confirm, be specific: “I will do X by Y.”
After you committed, block time in your calendar right away. Treat your commitment as a personal promise. Delivering against your commitment will not only impact how you are viewed in the team, it also subconsciously reflects on how you perceive your own personal integrity.
In many ways, the worst impact one has by not delivering on promises is onto oneself.
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