The Power of Peer Accountability For Business Success

How The Pressure of Other’s Will Help You Work Harder

“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together"  - African Proverb

During the majority of our professional careers, we will simultaneously be accountable to a number of people: a boss, coworkers, family members -the list goes on.

Judging by your interest in content like this, it’s likely that you’ll try hard to do your best work and not disappoint any of these stakeholders. 

However, a strong work ethic may not be enough for you to sustain high performance by yourself for a meaningful period of time. Life happens to all of us.

Accountability to yourself is critical for creating self-trust and confidence. Accountability from others is also important and can be the ongoing catalyst you need to drive towards even the most challenging goals.

Over the last decade, I’ve found that the pressure from peer accountability can be a huge asset in my ability to drive forward. 

I have a small circle of accountability partners that I regularly turn to for goal setting, problem-solving, and challenging my points of view. They always call me out when I’m not living up to expectations (shoutout to these guys - you know who you are).

It’s enabled me to land promotions, new jobs, entrepreneurial goals, physical health goals, and so much more.

Furthermore, research has shown that accountability from peers can help people and teams produce better outcomes. While this is probably obvious, it’s always good to know that data supports it.

The key is finding someone who you can confide in, who won’t judge you negatively, but who will also have a candid dialogue with you at all times. While it’s not always easy to find an accountability partner, it’s also not impossible.

If you don’t currently have someone that meets this description and you are interested in finding one, let me suggest a few ways that may help. 

  • Identify a co-worker who you can build a good relationship with (ideally not someone who you compete with directly for career growth)

  • Find someone outside of your company, who you have a strong existing relationship with, who shares a similar path with what you are trying to accomplish

  • A former boss who is no longer in your reporting chain

  • A family member/relative who is in a similar stage of life who shares similar ambitions

  • A neighbor or someone in your local area who you get along with and have a good relationship with

Once you identify someone, have a conversation about what you want in an accountability partner and why it could be valuable for both of you. Make sure they understand your vision and are bought in. Share your goals and strategies for success and ask them to share theirs. 

Then, set an on-going check-in schedule and stick with it.

Did I miss any valuable recommendations? Let me know so I can share additional ideas with the community. 

As a final suggestion, consider reading the book Radical Candor. While it’s designed for leaders who want to share critical feedback for their teams, it could be a useful tool for sharing feedback with your accountability partner. 

(Book spoiler: the goal should be to care deeply but also challenge directly; this will produce the best outcomes.)

Best of luck and go for the gold!