Build Accountability to Create an Unstoppable Business When you hold team members accountable, you're telling them you value them and their place on the team.

By Jason Forrest

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Bob Donnan | USA TODAY Sports

"When your teammate looks you in the eye and holds you accountable, that's the greatest kind of leadership there is," Philadelphia 76ers Coach Doug Collins said.

When you hold team members accountable, it's a way of expressing that you value them and their place on the team.

Even after leaders equip teams with information and training, the teams need someone to push them to reach their potential, to rise to the standard or simply to practice the behaviors that will lead to success.

Related: In Praise of the Stealth Leader: The Oft-Unsung Hero of the Office

People can be afraid of the word accountability, but it's because they often think it's going to mean that someone's shining a spotlight on their every misstep and making them feel they're just not enough. It doesn't have to be that way, but in order to build a culture of accountability, leaders must focus on long-term goals and be willing to embrace conflict.

Short-term efforts -- such as rallies -- may provide a shot-in-the-arm effect, but building accountability requires a long-term approach. Without continued coaching and daily reinforcement, team members don't retain training and knowledge. To succeed, teams need a support system to keep them on track, motivated and inspired.

They need leadership.

Related: Avoid the Dead Zone By Adopting 'Recruit Daily or Perish'

In order to play the role of a coach and equip sales professionals to become the best version of themselves, sales leaders must engage in conflict. There's a dangerously prominent idea that conflict equals death. Anytime we delay a tough conversation or sweep observations under a rug, we do our teams, ourselves and our companies a disservice.

It's a challenge to get people to exceed their own expectations, but conflict allows leaders to grow people and build trust. It's just about holding people accountable to doing what they're uncomfortable doing -- which leads them to become the best version of themselves.

One of the greatest benefits of embracing conflict is that it allows you to set new, higher expectations and then help people get out of their comfort zones to reach those expectations. While conflict can cause our hearts to pound and sweat to gather on our foreheads, a lack of conflict cheats us out of progress and growth. Balance is important here too -- embracing conflict doesn't mean you can't give a little sugar with the medicine. Set expectations, hold people accountable to those expectations, and then praise them when their behaviors line up.

Building a culture of accountability doesn't happen overnight, but it's worth the long-term effort. A team of people who are looking to improve is a worthy competitor. A team who embraces conflict is unstoppable. Build an unstoppable company by building accountability.

Related: This Is What Happens When Your Sales and Marketing Team Don't Mesh

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Jason Forrest

Author, Speaker, Coach

Jason Forrest is CEO at FPG, a national sales training company. He is an award-winning executive, the author of seven books, and the creator of cutting-edge sales and leadership training programs.

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