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Leadership Tips: Dependability

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Your credibility depends on your commitment to the mission and to your team members.

  • Do not make inflated promises about future possibilities for individual employees or the organization as a whole.
  • Set an example of scheduling, concentration, and availability for your colleagues.
  • Consider ways you can structure your business in order to weather downturns and reduce the need to cut jobs.
  • Think through what you need from team members, and make sure each person has what he or she needs.
  • Communicate objectives, priorities, and deadlines.
  • Consider your coworkers’ personal needs and priorities during life-changing events or family crises.
  • Plan your work in order to avoid unreasonable demands on employee time and energy.
  • If policies become unproductive, work through appropriate channels to adjust them.

The Goal In Mind

As the Spanish-American conflict heated up, U.S. president William McKinley wanted to secure cooperation with the insurgents fighting for Cuba's independence. In April 1898, the U.S. Army dispatched Lieutenant Andrew Summers Rowan on a mission to contact insurgent general Calixto Garcia deep in the forests of Cuba. Rowan's mission would later capture the imagination of millions through Elbert Hubbard's famous story, "A Message to Garcia." (http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/199th/ocs/content/pdf/Message%20to%20Garcia.pdf)

Capt. Rowan's example reminds us that being dependable may require unexpected sacrifice and flexibility. When accepting an assignment or an order from a customer, keep the following three questions fixed in your mind:

  1. What am I promising to do? Be sure you clearly understand what expectations you have agreed to meet.
  2. What is the desired outcome? Your role is only one part of a bigger picture. What is it that your authority or your client wants to accomplish?
  3. How can I help? Though it is wise to set limitations on responsibility when you enter a contractual agreement, dependability is considering how you can go beyond the letter in order to fulfill the spirit of your agreements.
By |2018-10-29T15:55:59+00:00September 1, 2007|