I was just reading this post by Guy Kawasaki and love this little nugget of management advice:
Establish a single point of responsibility. If you ask your employees who is responsible for a goal, and no one can answer you in ten seconds, then it means that there’s not enough accountability. If more than one person is responsible for the achievement of a goal, then no one is responsible. Good employees accept responsibility. Great employees seek responsibility. Lousy employees avoid responsibility.
I think he is absolutely spot on – all of it. I was working with a client once and there was a large amount of diversity in the team in terms of their work practices. One day a team member came to me and said:
“I found this problem in the system, it was X’s code so I let them know about it but it really needs to be fixed before this afternoon – would you like me to fix it?”
That right there is an example of someone identifying a problem, making sure they take it to the person who is supposed to be responsible, realising that they had dropped the ball and accepting their greater responsibility to the product – especially under a deadline – the witchhunt can wait until later.
In this case we had a team goal of getting a good build out in the afternoon but that really broke down into a bunch of individual goals for team members to make sure they had cleared out as many bugs from the system as they could before we hit the build button.
Anyway – I highly recommend you read the post.