This is the age of accountability on all levels. We define success criteria, backed up by data, performance goals, check-ins, and make changes when we don’t hit our targets. What separates the average from excellent is whether leaders do accountability “to” people or “with” them.

Helping team members define their own goals as part of a collaborative team reaps far better results than imposing and policing them. Giving employees goals and then pulling a “gotcha” on them says more about a leader’s talent than the employees. It just shows you know how to whack people with a stick.

But pulling people together with baseline data and larger goals to reach allows them to set up their own challenging targets aligned with the team. Just tell them what another team is accomplishing that outpaces them, and they’ll raise their own bar.

Several years ago, former naval Capt. Michael Abrashoff needed a boost to make sure his crew would be experts at defending their ship. After reviewing all the normal training and accountability data, he simply taped the results of a rival captain’s crew to one of his own gun crew’s turrets. They responded by blowing their rival’s shooting record out of the water two weeks later.

Life is a team sport. Teach your team to hold themselves and you accountable for great things.