16 accountability killers to avoid

These small behaviors hurt us, both personally and professionally, far more than we realize.

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 you’re above the law or would lie about your behavior like Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. And you’re no Anthony Weiner (Or is that Carlos Danger?), either: You don’t move heaven and earth to shift the blame when you’re clearly the one at fault. And you’re not like Sarah, your reliably unreliable co-worker, who is chronically late and always full of convenient excuses.

But are you truly in the clear? Probably not, say Julie Miller and Brian Bedford. They contend that most of us are guilty of small behaviors that crack our accountability façade and hurt us, both personally and professionally, far more than we realize.

“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,” comments Bedford, co-author along with Miller of Culture Without Accountability—WTF? What’s the Fix? (Criffel Publishing, 2013, ISBN: 978-0-989-84692-9, $13.99, www.millerbedford.com). “We tell ourselves, ‘It’s just a one-time thing … I don’t usually act like this.’ But that just doesn’t hold water. 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, the authors share a list of their 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, an unfortunate coffee spill, to name just a few. 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.

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