When you make plans with your friends, do they instantly know you won’t actually turn up for those plans? Do they already know you will cancel – most likely at the last-minute?
If the above question hit a nerve, you might want to ask yourself – Are you reliable?
We tend to respect people who walk the talk. We respect people who do what they say they will.
If you are constantly cancelling or letting people down, they will eventually lose faith in you or at the least not take you very seriously.
They will assume you are an all talk, no action person.
No one wants to be known as unreliable. While it can be a bad thing on a personal level, it could be catastrophic on a business one.
People won’t want to work with you if you are not reliable. One of quickest ways to unravel the moral of a team, is to have an unreliable Manager.
Here are some steps to take to become more reliable.
Do what you say you will
Everyone cancels the odd thing here and there. People get sick and need to cancel. I cancelled catching up with my friend for State of Origin on Wednesday night because I had a stomach ache. To be honest, I cancelled three weeks earlier as well because I had a cold. I know – not good. I need to step up and make sure I am with her for the third game.
Cancelling every now and then is normal.
Cancelling all the time, will simply annoy the hell out of your friends and make them less inclined to ask you along next time. Eventually they may stop asking you all together, particularly if you are known for cancelling at the last-minute.
If you are working on a project and you need to pull out or change direction, be upfront with your coworkers. Let them know as soon as possible about your intentions.
I once heard a powerful comment from a young child. He said, “Daddy never keeps his promises.’ I’m not a parent, so therefore have no experience raising a child but I have seen a lot of parents promise children things they know they won’t deliver on, to simply calm them down or shut them up. Word of warming, sometimes they remember. You don’t want your children to think they can not rely on you.
Deliver actions on time
If you commit to a deadline, you need to stick to it. It amazes me how many people don’t take deadlines seriously.
I have a friend who runs his own business. When it comes to delivering the finished product, he tends to over promise and under deliver (at least when it comes to timing).
Don’t get me wrong his finished product is brilliant but his timing with deadlines is less than stellar. He tends to quote an earlier delivery date, I’m assuming to get the business in the first place. Yet he probably knows when setting the deadline, that he can’t deliver to that time frame. Then it is a matter of making up an excuse for the late delivery.
A wiser idea might be to be more accurate with the timing on the original quote. Albeit he may lose the odd customer, who needs something in a hurry, but in the end he will probably gain more customers by delivering what he promised within the set time frame.
Don’t make excuses
As I mentioned above, when the product is late my friend has to make up an excuse.
Don’t get me wrong, I doubt there is a human alive who hasn’t made up an excuse at some point. A problem arises if you are doing this regularly. If you are constantly making up excuses, it will not be good for your career or your personal relationships.
Sometimes excuses turn into lies and people can often spot them a mile away. I am sure we have all heard elaborate, whopping fibs in our time (that people actually expected us to believe).
The minute you start lying to people, you start to lose credibility.
Don’t dump people when you get a better offer
This one in particular drives me nuts. You have solid plans with someone and they cancel at the last-minute. Then, later you find them telling everyone on Facebook what a wonderful time they are having with such and such.
Basically, they flicked you because they got a better offer. It doesn’t give the person being dumped a warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s actually a great way to build resentment if you do this often.
Say no when you want to
The biggest problem is people can have a hard time saying no, particularly if they need to say no to someone’s face. It may be considered easier to agree to something in the person’s presence and then cancel later via phone, text or some form of social media (which by the way you shouldn’t always assume the person will receive).
If you don’t want to do something, say no from the get go. Don’t agree to something with the intention of changing your mind later. Saying no might unnerve a few people at first but people will respect you more in the end for being honest.
Granted when it comes to work situations, we don’t often have the opportunity to say no. Our boss tells us the work needs to be done and that’s it. When you are forced into this situation, pay special attention to due dates, the scope of the project and staff requirements. Speak up early if you don’t have the resources or time to hit the project deadline.
When you are reliable you’ll earn people’s respect and most importantly you will have more respect for yourself.
Looking for more on this topic? Check out Are You Reliable at Work and Are You Too Reliable at Work?
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