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Protecting Your “A” Factor 11 accountability killers to avoid By Julie Miller and Brian Bedford Are you accountable? If you’re like most people, your answer to that question is an automatic “Yes” or maybe even an indignant “Of course, why are you even asking me?” After all, you don’t believe that you’re above the law or lie about your behavior like Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. And you’re no Anthony Weiner (Or is that Carlos Danger?), either. You’re not like Sarah, your reliably unreliable coworker, who is chronically late and always full of convenient excuses. But are you truly in the clear? Most of us are guilty of small behaviors that crack our accountability façade and hurt us, both personally and professionally. We know from the Lance Armstrongs, Jerry Sanduskys, and Bernie Madoffs of the world what accountability absolutely isn’t. But, rarely do we stop to examine what accountability is. That’s why it’s so easy for little behaviors—‘accountability killers,’ if you will—to worm their way unnoticed into our lives. Often, we’re critical of these behaviors when we see them displayed by other people, but we give ourselves a pass when we’re the ones engaging in them. We tell ourselves, just this one time. No matter how often it does or doesn’t happen, failing to act accountably can damage your reputation, your relationships, your career opportunities, and more. Here, in no particular order, is a list of our personal pet-peeve “accountability killers”: Showing up late Sure, there are legitimate reasons why even the most responsible person might be running late: a fender bender, a sick child, or an unfortunate coffee spill. And yes, everybody gets a pass on this one from time to time when life’s curveballs happen. But if it happens again and again, you’ve got a problem. If tardiness is a habit—if others expect it from you rather than being surprised by it—you’re not being accountable. In effect, what you’re saying is, “I don’t value your time. I believe I’m more important than you”—or at the very least, “It’s not important to me to honor the agreement we made.” Saying you’ll do it…and then not doing it. Again, sometimes “life” happens. If an unforeseen accident or crisis derails your best intentions, most folks are likely to 27 leadership excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 04.2014


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