Being reliable at work isn’t always easy. There are times when we have little control over whether or not our projects are completed on time or if our customers are happy with their orders. But we do have control over how reliable we are when it comes to the commitments we make to others.
Reliability is essential for building relationships of any kind: between friends, employers and employees, or suppliers and customers. If you want to be trusted, you must be reliable.
What does it mean to be reliable?
Reliability is consistent positive behavior you can count on. It means keeping your word, coming through on your promises, and doing what you say you will do.
Here’s what Brené Brown has to say about reliability.
You do what you say you’re going to do. We have to be very clear on our limitations so we don’t take on so much that we come up short, and don’t deliver on our commitments.
Reliable people are dependable and safe to be around. They are easy to build trust with because you know you can count on them.
Unreliable people are harder to build a relationship with because you are never sure if you can trust them. They don’t keep their commitments, they are not dependable, and they don’t follow through on what they say they will do.
Being reliable takes discipline; it’s hard work.
So how can we be more reliable and build trust in the workplace? We have a few tips based on Dr. Brené Brown’s elements of BRAVING Trust.
1.) Do what you say you’ll do.
When you say you’re going to do something, follow through. You may not be able to follow through every single time, but people can trust that you will give it your best shot.
As humans, we’re wired to build trusting relationships with others based on reliability.
It’s not easy to trust someone who is constantly committing to things only to drop the ball, leaving the rest of the team to scramble. This can be detrimental to a team’s growth.
When people know they can count on us, they feel better about taking risks with us. If they can depend on us, they feel better about sharing information with us or working together toward a common goal.
These are all essential elements, especially on a team. A team has to be able to take risks together and trust each other with information. A team that can trust and rely on each other is much more likely to thrive.
2.) Be aware of your competencies and limitations.
This means you are honest with yourself and others about your capacity. People will not trust you if they can’t count on you to know what you can and can’t handle.
Make sure the things you commit to are things you can accomplish. (This also makes it easier to live by rule #1)
Knowing your competencies and limitations takes self-awareness.
Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself as other people do and to step outside yourself. It’s about being aware of what your strengths are and what you’re good at, but also what you are not good at.
If you are self-aware, you will know when it is time to ask for help. You will know when it is appropriate to turn down work because you don’t have the time or the skills to do it well.
Self-awareness doesn’t mean not having confidence in yourself. Instead, self-awareness means taking risks informed by an understanding of your limits and what is realistic for you at this moment in time.
If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed and unable to complete projects or tasks frequently, take a second to reflect.
Assess your capacity and how much time and energy different tasks will require of you before automatically accepting the work.
By doing this, you can be upfront about whether or not the task is something that fits into the amount of time and energy you have available.
3.) Know your values and balance priorities.
We often don’t take the time to help people understand our values and priorities. It’s not just what you say, but what you do that communicates your values to others. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are trying to determine your values and priorities.
- Where is my time spent?
- What am I saying “yes” to?
- Am I saying “no thank you” to one or two of the activities on my calendar that are not getting me closer to my goals?
- What can I do today to stay true to my values, be more balanced, and have the space needed for my well-being?
If you’re running a business or managing a team, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have the time to do all the things people ask you to do. The truth is, there is always going to be a way to make time for the things you truly care about.
Here’s an example. A manager wants to spend more time with her employee. She has a clear understanding of what her values and priorities are. As a result, she can easily say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when people request time from her based on her value of putting her employees first.
She doesn’t spend time on things just because people ask her to. It all comes down to knowing what you value and why, and keeping those priorities in mind as you go through your workday.
If you have trouble saying no, try asking yourself what your top priority is during the time being requested. Is it making money? If so, a side conversation with a coworker probably isn’t going to help much in that regard.
Or maybe it’s something else entirely. But once you know what matters most—and why—it becomes easier to prioritize your schedule and focus your energy on the right things.
It also helps to say no thank you to the things that are filling your calendar but not bringing you closer to your values and goals.
Strengthen your team
Try only committing to the things you can follow through on. If someone asks you to do something that’s not in line with your values or goals, say no thank you. Do this enough times, and people will start to realize they can trust you.
Developing trust means building a reputation for reliability. Reliability means knowing what your values and priorities are, communicating them to your team, and then doing what you say you’re going to do – even if the task is difficult.
This helps build trust because people can now rely on you to do what you say you’re going to do – even if it’s difficult – which makes them want to work with you more.
Building a trusting and reliable team culture isn’t easy. It takes courage and discipline from everyone involved. But it’s the only way to create trusting relationships in the workplace where people can work together effectively and be productive.
Are you struggling to build trust in your organization? Contact us today!