Everyone wants to work for someone who is reliable, and every boss wants an employee who is reliable.
This isn't an earth-shattering revelation, yet it's one that can fall by the wayside as you become busier in your career and in your life.
But a research project known as CEO Genome shows that reliability is critical if you want to be successful and rise in the ranks. In fact, it's important that you be "relentlessly reliable" if you want to be a successful CEO one day.
While reliability seems to be "annoyingly obvious" to success, research shows that it's also the kind of behavior that can be proven statistically to show results, especially when it comes to being hired, says Elena Lytkina Botelho, a consultant at ghSMART, a Chicago-based management consulting firm.
What makes a CEO -- or anyone-- more reliable? Botelho says one of the most important tips is to make sure you get it right from the beginning.
"Reliability doesn’t start when you start executing. Reliability starts when you walk in and you understand what everybody expects of you, and you align your stakeholders towards expectations that are realistic given what the situation presents you with," she says.
It's clear that to become more reliable, you have to be honest with yourself and in your dealings with others. Here are some ways to be more reliable:
- Follow through. I'm sure you've run into the situation where a colleague says he or she will help you get a project done -- and then turns up on deadline without it being done. The person may claim he or she was too busy, or simply forgot. Think about how you feel in that moment -- do you want others to think the same thing of you? If not, then don't take what I call the half-ass route. Do the job you promised and do it well and on time. If you can't, then give your colleague a heads-up ASAP.
- Draw a line in the sand. People often get into trouble when they don't clearly define who they are as a person and as a team member. You don't have to declare it from the rooftops, but it does need to be known that you won't do anything unethical or unlawful, and you won't help anyone else do something unethical or unlawful. You will be seen as much more reliable when people get a clear idea of your personal ethics and know that they can count on you to stand firm.
- Embrace your imperfections. No one trusts someone who thinks he or she is perfect, or pretty close to it. Everyone makes mistakes, and you need to be ready to own up to your own mistakes and not have a meltdown if someone else makes a mistake. It may sound odd, but you'll actually be seen as more reliable if you are willing to admit you don't always get it right -- but are willing to learn and move on. People rely on those who are human -- not false images that claim to be without fault.
I took the online CEO Genome test and found that my reliability was better than the average, but I think it's something I need to work on. I know that I don't like to depend on those who are unreliable, and I should expect no less from myself.
In what ways do you try to show you are reliable?
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