Dependable…The Forgotten Leadership Trait

Dependable; The New Inspirational

There is a little talked about trait, I believe fundamental to the success of any amazing leader. I know you are thinking it must be something like strategic, inspirational, driven or something like that, but I’m afraid not. The trait you don’t often hear discussed is, dependable.

When you think of dependable, it doesn’t sound very sexy. In fact, it sounds a little boring and simple, but there is a lot packed into that one word when it comes to your success as a leader.

Here’s why.

Dependability is defined simply as being able to be counted on or relied upon. It may not seem that big of thing, but when you take on a leader role, in essence you ask the people you are leading to put their trust in you. You are consciously or unconsciously asking them to give of their time and energy, to help you get to where you think the group should go.

You know that if you can depend or trust them, you can lead the group to where you all want to go, but for them to feel comfortable to give you their trust, they will first need to know if they can depend on you.

Any group that is formed goes through a testing process. The leader and followers test the waters to see how dependable the other is. You as the leader, monitor the dependability of your team; Will they do what I ask? Will they be where they need to be? Will they get done the work I need doing? Will they rise when the going gets tough or will they crumble?

At the same time, your team is checking you out. Does she do what she says? Does she follow through on her promises? Does he go back on his commitments? Does he lie or leave out information about things? Do we share the same values?

The crazy thing for both parties, is while this testing is going on, neither party is filling the other in on the fact they are being tested and whether they are passing or failing. But at a fundamental level all those little tests are adding up to a score around how dependable you are. Or in other words, “when the going gets tough, where do you rank in terms of who I would call to have my back?”

Here is the hard truth. It doesn’t matter whether you are an employee, leader, follower or inspiring leader, the higher your dependability score the more successful you are. The more people can depend on you, the more intricate and valuable you are to any team and the more sought after you are.

So how do you build your dependability score?

The cornerstone to building your dependability score, as a leader, isn’t about taking on more work or having all the answers. It isn’t about being a doormat or catering to everyone. The cornerstone to building your dependability score comes down to one thing…honesty.

Absolutely you could argue that “doing what you say you are going to do” should be the cornerstone, but is it? We have all had a time when we overcommitted to something and were just not able to make it happen. In those cases, if you were honest about the situation, you were given some leeway with little impact to your overall score. If you weren’t, then that is when your score took a real hit.

Remember, dependability is about answering the question of, “can I rely on you?”. When you are honest about a situation, even when things are less than desirable, then your team will recognize that they can depend on you to tell them the things, they might not what to hear.

When your team recognizes they can depend on you to be honest with them, then you will be one step closer to building a team you can rely on as well!

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