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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Dolan

Professional Accountability is Really About Personal Power

Question for ya – What’s accountability mean to you?

So, I’ll share – here’s what it means to me.

It means you stop pointing the finger at others. It means being fully aware every, single moment of every, single day. It means taking total control over that for which you are 100% responsible.  It means that when you want something, you make a plan, prepare and execute.  It means owning your shit.

Accountability is both personal and professional. Today, I’m talking about what it means professionally – what owning -your-shit-accountability looks like on the job – but the reality is is that there’s a thin line between accountability personally and professionally. Because we are human beings who show up as ourselves in both contexts.

Do your homework.  This goes beyond Googling the company or your role or clicking through their website to learn their messaging about their products, services, philosophies, or team members. Be curious; ask questions. Learn the history of the company; learn the major players; read the news every morning; connect with industry leaders on LinkedIn, and ask for a moment of their time, so you can learn from them.  Know the product or service like the back of your hand; yes, it’s your job; and it’s your responsibility. There’s a difference there. Prepare yourself.  There are books, e-books, websites, blogs, you name it that can give you a plethora of q’s and a’s and news and opinions and thought leadership on your product, service, line of work, business, industry. Prepare yourself; know your business; then, design, create, and customize your approach to fit who you are.

Practice self-awareness and awareness.  Two words for you: pay attention. Pay attention to who is around you, how they interact with you, what they say, and how they say it. In turn, pay attention to how you interact with others, what you say, how you say it. So much of our work each and everyday is the practice of paying attention to who we are in the world and how that impacts, ignites, inspires others – and vice versa.

Dress well.  The old adage is true – dress for the job you want. All the time. Dress professionally. Dress seriously. Dress confidently.

Be smart in your delivery and demeanor.  You should be strong and confident; your delivery should be calm and deliberate. Your demeanor should be relaxed and engaged. Never be afraid to ask for clarity or more information. Take responsibility for how you deliver a message, answer a question, respond to a complement – or a complaint. Your language – and how you use it – can move mountains.

Ask for thoughts or feedback.  Continual self-improvement is a game-changer. Ask for thoughts or feedback constantly from your managers, team members, clients, whomever you interact with daily. What do they need, how can you support them, and how can you make their lives a wee bit easier. Accountability is showing up full-force and that sometimes means hearing information we don’t want to hear, but need to hear. When you open that door and ask for feedback, you’re taking full-on accountability for yourself in this respective role. if the interviewer sees you as a fit, why or why not, and then address any concerns accordingly.

When all is said and done, accountability is really about harnessing your personal power. When you make the decision to harness that personal power, you will do great things – you  will not only take responsibility for yourself, but also set a strong example for everyone else.

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