The Key to Respect and Success? Begin with Accountability

By Marjorie Brody

Many people may be reluctant to say it, but without a doubt, it’s true: Our business environment is increasingly filled with apathy, entitlement issues, lack of professionalism, complaining, conflict, and blame.

I’ve personally witnessed how individual attitudes and behaviors continue to sabotage professional and organizational success.

My own professional development mantra that I share with my executive coaching clients, as well as during my accountability presentations, is that we all need to step up and be accountable for the results, relationships, and rewards we want.

This philosophy relates to four specific realities of our workplace that I’ve identified that delve into the vital characteristics, behaviors, and strategies that lead to personal and career growth.

These four areas are:

1) Attitude: Life is not fair.
2) Performance: No one owes you a living.
3) Behavior: Reputation and relationships rule.
4) Courage: We regret the risks we don’t take.

These concepts share one thing in common: They relate to accountability. Besides being a buzzword of late, accountability as a concept is not new. It doesn’t start at the top; it isn’t the responsibility of others. It starts with each of us.

What we have to remember about attitude is that things will not always go our way. Not everyone will agree with you, get along with you, or treat you the way you would like. But, remember, you always have a choice as to how you respond to situations and people.

Performance relates to paying attention to the results you are producing, not your daily work activities.

Eliminate behaviors that can destroy relationships and reputations. Are you the person whom others want to be around? Do others refer and recommend you? What is your brand?

The final trait of accountability relates to courage. It’s never easy to admit you’re wrong. But successful businesspeople have the courage to admit their mistakes and don’t try to pass off errors to their subordinates.

Courage also involves a willingness to take risks. After all, a wise risk is better than foolish safety.

Part of accountability surrounds leadership. You need to lead by example. Effective leaders have integrity … a vital trait to be successful and gain people’s respect and admiration— not to mention trust.

These leaders take responsibility for their actions and know that the proverbial buck stops with them. You don’t have to answer to “CEO” or “President,” however, to be a responsible corporate citizen.

Corporate leaders who are truly effective realize that they are constantly growing and always have new challenges to face and conquer. We can look to those who have excelled in their fields and get additional perspective on the “going above and beyond” elements of excellence. Be dedicated and prepared to take advantage of each opportunity for excellence in a way that demonstrates your personal commitment to this value.

You can weather the current economic climate and other setbacks. A good start is to practice accountability.

Marjorie is an author, Hall of Fame speaker, and coach to Fortune 1,000 executives. She is CEO of BRODY Professional Development, a business communication and presentation skills company in Jenkintown, PA, that offers tailored training programs, workshops, keynote presentations, and executive coaching. BRODY serves such diverse clients as Microsoft, Pfizer, Aramark, Campbell Soup, Genentech, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, NBC Universal, Glaxo- SmithKline, Citi Private Bank, and many national and international associations. For more information on booking Marjorie or a BRODY training program, visit www. or Or call 215-886-1688.

If you missed Marjorie Brody’s Lab Manager Academy webinar “Accountability: 5 Keys to Manage Success (Yours & Others), originally broadcast on Wednesday February 2, 2011, visit to watch the archived video.

Published In

Confident? Magazine Issue Cover

Published: February 1, 2011

Cover Story


Our third annual confidence survey reveals that survey participants—ranging from technicians to corporate management—believe their research organizations will be just slightly better off financially than they were a year ago and that business conditions in their market sectors will somewhat improve to support or attract significant research investments.