does dependability mean to you? How does it
feel when someone does not return your call
or email? What happens when someone tells you
they'll do something and they fail to deliver?
Can you depend upon yourself to deliver?
be a credible leader and someone others will
depend upon to get things done, take your word
seriously. You teach others how to treat you
as a leader by how you treat yourself. Make
a commitment to honor your word, choose your
words carefully, and learn how to follow through
on all of your promises.
Your Word versus Keeping Your Word
your word is about what you do; being your word
is more about who you are or how you are being.
It is the congruency of who you are and your
actions. Keeping your word means doing what
you say you'll do. Both of these are extremely
attractive - people like being around leaders
who possess these qualities.
your word is rooted in integrity while keeping
your word is rooted in honesty and commitment.
Keeping your word requires conscious effort
whereas being your word is your essence - it's
who you are at your core and requires no effort.
Keeping your word will pave the way for being
a commitment to yourself to do what you say
you will do. Commitment means persisting until
completion. It means taking your word seriously
and committing to what you say.
more aware of what you say to yourself and others
through the course of the day. Learning to say
less is the precursor for honoring your word.
It's much easier to honor your word when you
have carefully thought about what you are promising.
By promising less, it's more likely you'll be
able to deliver. Each time you deliver what
you say, you become more credible as a leader
and your word becomes more meaningful.
you use the word 'should', take notice. If you
'should' do something, then either do it or
stop saying it and move on. Holding onto the
thought by should-ing yourself takes up "mind
RAM" and adds stress by robbing you of
energy that could be used for more constructively.
you are responsible to do something, do it.
You'll be glad when it's over. If there is something
that stands in your way, move it or arrange
to have someone else do it. Don't let anything
or anyone deter you from becoming a person of
your word. Become a leader whom others can depend
means you are credible and trustworthy and that
people can place confidence in you and what
you say. It takes time and practice to develop.
Each day offers new opportunities to stretch
your dependability muscles.
you truly cannot follow through on a commitment,
take ownership for this by letting the other
person know. By taking your word more seriously,
you will find that you are more confident, your
self-respect increases, and you will also receive
more respect from others.
words you choose make a difference in your believability.
You need to believe in yourself and in your
word; this is not just about how others feel
try is not to do. If you were to ask people
over for dinner and they said they would try
to come, would you cook? 'Try' is a non-committal
word. It means that you haven't yet made a decision.
So, make a decision.
choices do you have? Which choice are you willing
to commit to?
you're not yet ready to choose, then say that.
Tell the truth. Say you're not sure, that you
haven't made a decision. Set a timeframe for
making a decision, and stick to your deadline.
To Follow Through
through is the most important element of dependability.
It means making a commitment and finishing things
once they are begun. There is a glorious feeling
one experiences when a project is completed.
Having unfinished projects is both stressful
and energy depleting.
are several reasons why people don't follow
through: procrastination, perfectionism, being
overextended, being unable to say no - to name
a few. What stands in your way? Learning to
become more dependable as a leader means making
your commitments a priority and eliminating
the barriers that impede success.
you start something new, create a timeline for
completing it. Schedule these to-dos directly
on your calendar. Get things off your plate
and on your schedule and delegate everything
possible. This will help you plan your time
to get it done and prevent it from slipping
through the cracks.
committing to something new, make sure you are
willing, able and want to do the necessary work
or have the required workforce or resources
to complete the task. If you don't want to do
it, if you already have too much on your calendar,
then say no. Learning to say no will increase
your self-esteem, give you more energy, allow
you to complete your other projects and free
up time for more enjoyable things. Learning
to say no is not selfish; it's a requirement
for effective life management.
You might say that you cannot say no at work.
However, when you've marked your time to complete
your current commitments and you know that taking
on something new will push the other projects
back or make it impossible for you to handle
everything without long overtime and weekend
work (stressful and unacceptable), then let
your boss know. Don't assume s/he knows exactly
what you are working on and how much time you
have available to spend on something new. Explain
that taking on the new project will mean you
will not be able to complete the current project
in the required timeframe. Then your boss can
decide which project is the priority and how
s/he wants you to spend your work time.
to 'under promise' is another tip for increasing
your dependability. It means promising less
and saying it will take longer, giving yourself
room to deliver higher quality and quicker service
than anticipated. It's delivering a project
under budget and before schedule every time.
If you say the job or task will take you five
days and you can deliver it in four, you feel
a greater sense of accomplishment and are viewed
by the other person in a favorable light. Do
this often enough and you create a personal
brand that screams dependability.
Here are some action steps you can take immediately
to build your dependability muscles: