Reliability is key in life and at work. Most look at reliability as an all or nothing trait. In reality, reliability falls somewhere in a grey area. It is an extremely important skill though. You need to be able to show your employers and your colleagues that you are not just going to do what you say, but that you are a reliable person that can be counted on. The issue, though, is understanding how reliable you should be.
Reliability is not always 100%
Imagine, if you will, a scale of reliability from 1% to 100%. 1% is someone that is completely unreliable and 100% is the sun rising every day (at least for the foreseeable future). You are not expected to be like the sun rising every day, but falling in the 90% area is a good place to be. Your team and employer will know that you are reliable and they can count on you daily.
How do you get past the unexpected emergencies that can pop up at any point in your working life though? You can’t. Most employers understand this and will not fault you for needing a day or a few days off for the unexpected.
With that said, if you abuse that time off, you will drop on our reliability scale. Your employer and team will look poorly on how much they can trust you. And really, that is what reliability is all about. Trust. The more reliable you are the more your team knows that they can leave you to handle projects on your own. That leaves them more time to focus on their own work. That leads to a team that is more reliable and works better as one machine.
Overestimating the reliability of others
I have always lived by a single creed when it comes to others reliability. It has bitten me in the past, but in general it makes business run smoother. I expect every person I work with to be reliable. I just let them prove me wrong. This is often looked at as a way to set myself up for disappointment, but in most cases the individual will actually rise to the occasion. If they are viewed positively from the start, they have more pressure to keep those high views of themselves and not to let others down.
This may sound like a utopian way of working. Everyone expecting the best of everyone else is not as common these days. This is a fundamental shift in how teams act. The results, though, are astounding when everyone is on board. Remember, you are all on a ship and heading to the same destination. If one person falls flat on their duties, the ship will slow, or crash. If you expect a new person to fail, they are more likely to do so.
You don’t have to be the manager or leader of the team on this imaginary ship to implement this thought process. You simply need to lead by example. Anyone, in any position, can change the way a team works just by acting as you wish others to act. This, at its core, make you the rock of the team. In other words, you are the one people will know they can rely upon.