Leadership Trait – Dependability
When you think of the word dependability, does someone come to mind who embodies this trait? And if so, why? Do you have a view of yourself as a dependable person? If not, why not?
Merriam-Webster defines dependability as, “Capable of being depended on; reliable.”
Dependability means that a leader can be relied upon not only to perform one’s duties in a proper manner and with integrity, but in so doing building the trust and accountability that result. A leader makes and keeps commitments, has the discipline to avoid procrastination, and puts forth a full effort to complete a task.
A dependable leader isn’t easily discouraged when faced with obstacles, but instead finds ways to improvise and overcome. A dependable leader has earned credibility and is therefore considered trustworthy and believable. A dependable leader takes a certain pride in being reliable and accountable, and zealously protects that accrued trust with consistent, steadfast behavior. A dependable leader meets the above definition, and in so doing sets a standard that employees can not only perceive, but follow.
So, how can you develop dependability as a leadership trait? I would suggest the following:
• Accomplish the task. Don’t be dissuaded by obstacles; instead, find ways around them. Problems are inevitable, so developing a tightly focused, results-driven, problem-solver mentality is a must. Keep a keen eye on the timelines, involve others as needed, and ensure that progress is maintained. Many excellent project-management resources are available and should be utilized, as appropriate.
• Don’t offer excuses or blame others. Everyone knows excuse-makers who attempt to deflect responsibility. A leader who consistently blames others for shortcomings will eventually lose all credibility, both up and down the chain of command. A dependable leader accepts full responsibility, and in so doing accepts the blame when things go poorly and shares the credit when things go well.
• Keep the commitments you make. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. Simple as that. A commitment is your word, your promise, and by not keeping that commitment you are risking the trust that you may have previously earned. Is it worth that risk? I think not.
• Show up on time, every time. Being tardy shows a lack of discipline but more importantly displays a lack of respect for the time of others. Little things also count, and this is one that counts heavily. In this regard, being dependable means being prompt, being on time, being attentive. It sets a standard that a leader should insist that everyone adhere to.
• Always bear in mind that others are counting on you. When you signed on to become a leader, you accepted the fact that others will be entrusted to your care. Your employees will need to look to you for guidance and feedback; they will want and need to trust you, to perhaps even emulate you. And certainly they will need to count on you. Never forget or ignore that.
Dependability is an important trait that every leader should embody. It’s an important building block in developing and maintaining trust, something every leader should desire and seek.