Why Is Dependability Important for a Person to Have in the Workplace?

Efficient workplaces don't occur naturally. They're the result of teams of people applying best practices and positive traits. One of the most important of these traits is dependability – being reliable so that people can count on you. This is true for the owner or manager and every employee.

Each person in a company depends on others to do their jobs well and on time so they can then complete their jobs well and on time. If one person holds up the production chain, it grinds to a halt, potentially affecting every deadline down the line and, ultimately, product delivery and sales.

Being Dependable Starts at the Top

Merriam-Webster's reliability definition is "...yields the same result on repeated trials." However, that result could be good or bad. Unfortunately, some leaders are known for their unresponsiveness or inability to make a decision or act. The first synonym given by Merrian-Webster for reliability is dependability.

If you're at the top, you must be dependable because you set the tone and are the example for what you expect within the company. Everyone looks to you and follows your lead, so make it clear how important dependability is to the company, advises the author of a LinkedIn article on accountability and dependability. Make dependability one of your stated objectives, so your employees take it seriously, and it doesn't become only a buzz word.

Explain that each role in the company is important. When an employee isn't dependable, the company can lose money by not having products on the shelves or delivered to customers as promised. Depending on the action – or inaction – quality may suffer. Companies develop a reputation for dependability or lack of it, and that reputation affects customers' decisions on whether to buy from your company. It may also affect other companies' decisions to partner with your business or lenders who approve or deny your company's loan application.

Becoming More Reliable Is a Process

Reliability and dependability are traits that can be cultivated and improved upon. First, be honest with yourself by assessing how reliable you truly are, suggests the author of an Inc. article on becoming the most reliable person. Start by asking yourself in what ways or circumstances you are reliable and when you are not. Then, work on one step toward becoming more reliable each day, beginning with the most important to you. The author cautions not to seek perfection, just excellence, because shooting for perfection can cause delays and unreliability.

Give yourself time to think before accepting a commitment. Ask yourself if it's something you really care about and can get behind, how reasonable it is for you to accomplish the task, what the timeline is, and whether you can meet the timeline. Then, if you say "yes" to that commitment, go all out for it. If problems arise, acknowledge them immediately, and if your timeline is affected, let the appropriate people know right away so they can plan alternatives rather than having to scramble at the last minute.

Reward the Most Dependable

It's one thing to say, "Let's all do our best to be more dependable" and quite another to see it happen across the board. Let everyone know you're serious about accomplishing this improvement companywide by making it an official program and recognizing those who have gone above and beyond in reliability. Perhaps ask everyone to send a note to HR or another designated person when a coworker or a manager has come through for them in a big way.

Recognition and rewards are better motivators than punishment, so on a regular basis – perhaps monthly – recognize someone for their dependability and award them with a small gift card, lunch with the CEO, or an extra vacation day. Resist the temptation to award the zonker prize for the individual who left everyone in the lurch. Reward the best, and before you know it, all employees will be on their toes and aiming for the top recognition.