One of the most effective ways to formalise accountability is through developing and committing to team agreements. A successful team agreement clarifies the team member’s expectations of each other.

Do you have a team agreement?

What does it look like?

What should it look like?

Team agreements must clearly state agreed goals and how their successful achievement will be measured. Importantly, you need to prioritise these goals, so that there is a clear hierarchy in the event that any of these goals occasionally come into conflict.

For example, what is more important on tour – winning, participating, or socialising?

If your team agrees that your top priority is winning, then you will probably make different choices about the social activities you participate in!

Documenting these things will help you avoid future disagreements about exactly what you expect of your team-mates. Without an agreement founded on collective goals, leaders may have to rely on defending directives with ‘because I’m the boss’ type of explanations, and this does nothing to build trust and respect within the team!

As in any environment, individuals are generally motivated to maximise their own rewards and minimise their own costs. Conflicts can arise when individual motives or behaviours disrupt team-oriented goals.

For example, conflict can stem from an unequal division of effort. When people think they are the ‘only’ ones trying, they may reduce effort and or even withdraw.

Therefore, performance agreements should also formalise an effective communication system. In other words, how are we going to stay on track and resolve issues if they arise?

Although the process of generating an agreement can help activate a team’s collaborative efforts, the agreement should by no means be the end unto itself. Team leaders must regularly communicate and negotiate with team members and stakeholders to ensure that the levels of group participation and individual accountability are maintained and that the objectives and their priority are universally held.

And, yes, goals may change!

Good leaders recognise this and ensure that team agreements remain current and relevant.

On this page you will find some sample team agreements.

What do they have in common?

What speaks to you?

What process might you follow to adapt and adopt one for your team?