Note: This is post 6 of 7 of a series exploring social accountability. If this is your first blog to read in the series, catching up is easy: Start with the Great Expectations: Why the Best Leaders Create Social Accountability entry work your way forward.  

Over the past several weeks, we’ve discussed how to create an environment of social accountability. We started with expectations––how to form and then communicate them, and then how to align those expectations and your team. Then, we talked about why bestowing a sense of control on your people is so important; without it, you can’t expect them to invest deeply in the project.

The penultimate step in building social accountability is to collectively declare ownership of the outcome. In many ways, you’ve been chipping away at this step for some time, asking your people direct questions about whether or not they have what they need to deliver and whether or not they completely understand the tasks and ultimate mission at hand.

Now, in the declaring ownership phase, you are trying to earn a specific statement from your people: “I am––we are––responsible for this outcome.”

So how do you get there? And furthermore, why does it matter?

Ask questions.

Like so many of the steps leading up to this one, your main role in prompting your team to declare ownership is asking questions. Think of this step as the last chance for people to speak up about what they need to get the job done. Does your team have everything it needs, from time to knowledge to tools? Ask them.

Let go.

An important piece of this step is letting your people know that you are counting on them to see this project through. This does not mean forsaking your own stake or ownership of the outcome, but rather, communicating concrete belief and trust in your team. So how do you let your group know you’re depending on them? Ask them questions like, “Moving forward, will you take care of X?” or, to put it more directly, “From this point on, can I count on you to take care of X and take ownership of the outcome, whether it’s good or bad?”

My expectations become our expectations.

By encouraging your people to declare ownership of the outcome through direct questions, you are sharing your accountability with the team. Your expectations are transformed into our expectations. Then, your people are not just performing for a paycheck, but for themselves, for their teammates, for you, and for the powerful vision you all share.

That is social accountability.

Next up, we’ll discuss the final step in creating social accountability: verifying fulfillment. Are you All-In?