During a connection with one of our leaders this week, we stumbled onto the topic of reliability. As we discussed, we began listing the consequences of being in a relationship and working with someone who’s simply not reliable. As the list grew and grew, we looked at each other surprised at how many layers relate to one’s reliability.
Lack of reliability:
- Reduces trust
- Creates inefficiency
- Leads to frustration
- Makes people feel insignificant
- Slows momentum
- Breaks connection
We all know the people we can count on and the people who we can’t, whether it’s completing a work assignment, showing up for a meeting or meal, or anything in the realm of “doing what they said they’d do.”
So fast forward to Tuesday afternoon. I’d run to Lowe’s to order an appliance during lunch. The register wouldn’t allow for a price match and locked up. I watched as the clock, little by little closed in on my 2:00 meeting. I texted to let our Director of Marketing know that I was a victim of the home improvement store and was running behind. She was gracious, and yet I knew deep down that her confidence in my reliability took a hit. This wasn’t the first time, and perhaps even a trend was building. Darn it!
Reflecting on the initial meeting AND taking responsibility for my unreliability in getting back to the office in time for this meeting gave me a great opportunity to think through the steps to get back on track when we slip up. These apply just the same for whether the leader is taking responsibility for missing the mark or holding someone accountable for an increasing lack of reliability:
1. Acknowledge It
It’s important that we show up. That we’re reliable and on time. I’ve (or you’ve) been inconsistent of late, and this is a great opportunity to reset expectations for (myself or you).
2. Commit To It
“I’m committed to being on time as a way of honoring you, your time, and stewarding well the resources we’ve been given and responsibilities we carry.”
3. Move the Meeting or Prepare Differently
There are times when people have back to back to back meetings, and there’s absolutely no chance that the third meeting starts on time. People plan around it being late, and it loses the intentionality that would otherwise be present. In this situation, we can either communicate in the earlier meetings that we have hard stops to set everyone up for future meetings OR we need to create larger gaps in the schedule to accommodate meetings that go long or tasks that need to be addressed in between.
Some flexibility is great, and grace is important when something comes up. But when we start to be more certain in something NOT happening than happening, we’re losing more than we know in terms of trust, efficiency, momentum, and confidence.
Who’s one person you’ve been unreliable toward or one area of your life that you can make a schedule/habit change to turn the tide in this area?
Cheers to being leaders that honor the people around us and that others can count on.