In sports when an athlete feels that it’s up to them if the team is going to win, they play differently. And not in a good way. This lack of trust in their teammates leads them to try and do it all themselves. They feel that they must score the goal, they must hit the homerun, and they must be the reason the team wins. Lack of trust leads them to act as if the end result is all on their shoulders. While this may sound noble it really is a lack of trust in the individual’s teammates. A lack of trust kills the team.
When an athlete trusts the other players on the team the athlete knows that he/she just need to contribute to the victory. They know that if they do the little things right, instead of trying to do everything big, their teammates will also contribute and the effect is a team that plays together, sacrifices for each other, and wins. This trust relationship drives the athletes to act in a different manner and they get a different result. The act of trust, or the lack of trust, changes the outcome of the event even though the players are the same and the level of talent and skills available to the team are the same.
Trust works the same in your business, culture, and community. When you feel that everything relies on you and your efforts you take on more than you should. This puts you in the potential position of over promising and under delivering. It also means that you micro-manage because you must have your finger in everything. You believe that you must be a part of every decision and that you must also be involved throughout implementation.
When you act in this manner you turn off everyone else on the team, you cause good people to shut down, and eventually you drive your best people to look for more challenging opportunities where their ideas and efforts are more appreciated.
The accountable leader surrounds themselves with good people, they develop these people, and they trust these people. This is called building a world-class team. When you do this you create the situation where you do not have to be as involved and your team can achieve greatness while you are free to be more strategic and focus on other areas of concern.
Accountable leaders are a member of the team, but they fully understand that the team as a whole is what will win the game, not the leader’s individual performance.