Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Be Dependable. For Sure.

Do you do and follow through?

Of all the traits that can help us gain respect, influence and success, positive dependability is right at the top of the list. It’s not the most significant trait–you could be dependable while needing to be more productive. However, without it your other positive qualities lose some of their value.

Being dependable can mean being trustworthy, constant, consistent, steady, accurate, loyal, responsible and timely.  There is also the component of following through and making sure managers, supervisors, clients and customers received the work or service they were promised or that the  problem or need was resolved. 

The old adage that we judge ourselves by our intentions and others judge us by our actions also applies to our dependability. We tend to judge ourselves based on what we could have done, would like to have done, thought about doing or might have done if things had worked just right or if we hadn’t been so busy. Others judge us on: Did you do what you said you would do?

Your self-check for dependability:

  1. When you promise to do something can the person to whom you promised it feel confident? (Or, are you required to give many assurances because of past problems?) 
  2.  Do you turn work in on time (Or, do you often have to ask for more time?)
  3. If several people and you are asked to do something are you an example of doing work the right way? (Or, are you often the one who has to be asked and asked and asked again–and everyone else knows it.)
  4. Do you turn in nearly all your work exactly as requested or directed? (Or do you often have to explain why it’s not exactly what was expected?)
  5. Are most people very satisfied with your work? (Or, have they often expressed disappointment about the final product?)
  6. Are you consistently dependable? (Or do people have to catch you at a good time, less busy time or some other time, to be sure you’ll do good work?)
  7. Is there something someone thinks you are working on today–but you probably won’t start until tomorrow or the next day or the next?
  8. Do you have a large menu of excuses?
  9. Can you be relied upon to do what is needed if it is your responsibility? (Or, do you often respond to requests with excuse making, complaining or reasons why you can’t fulfill a request or do a task?)
  10. Do you do your work without needing to be supervised closely? (Or, do people have to go to your supervisor or manager quite often to resolve a problem or get something done, going around you in the process?)

You may think you are dependable but you know someone else who isn’t.  (Our egos are very protective of us that way!)  Ask others–especially the person who evaluates you–what he or she thinks about it. Look at the work you have waiting right now. Consider the work you’ve been asked to do in the last month. If you are a dependable person, congratulations! You will be valued more, respected more and will have more influence than most others.

If you come to the conclusion that you’re not as dependable as you should be or would like to be,  it’s relatively easy to fix it: Use your calendar, clock and mental strength to help you break the procrastination habit; challenge yourself to stay ahead in your work not behind all the time (that might help you stay even); and, let your supervisor or manager know you’re working at it. That will gain their appreciation while you’re trying–and will be good motivation for you to keep at it. 

Do and follow through.

What if you have failed in the past? So, at one time, did every man we recognize as a towering success. They called it “temporary defeat.”  Napoleon Hill

 Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

If I were dropped out of a plane and told that the nearest land was a thousand miles away I’d still swim. Abraham Maslow.




October 14th, 2010 Posted by | Personal and Professional Development, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers, Supervision and Management | 4 comments


  1. Good thoughts, Tina! I loved the one about the miners in Chile. We kept the TV on all night so we could watch it!

    Comment by denisek | October 14, 2010

  2. I’d appreciate it if you would write something on how to help people/force people to develop the dependability habit without nagging them constantly or writing them up…which in our company is considered a sign that the manager isn’t doing a good job. Thanks!

    Comment by Meeker | October 16, 2010

  3. I’m sorry to say it, but I think dependability is as gone as a wind-up watch. There are still some dependable people around but they are so rare they seem odd. Even I am not as dependable as I used to be, because it doesn’t seem to matter. Your article is good and I think it would be great I’m just not seeing it very much in my work. You might be catching me on a bad day though.

    Comment by B. R. | October 16, 2010

  4. #7 was the one I used to fail on but no longer. My former manager, Mr. Ben Zellerman (R.I.P.), asked me if I was almost done with a letter. I said yes. He asked to see what I had. I didn’t have anything yet. He acted so hurt over my lie that I never did it again and that was 15 years ago.

    Comment by Surfer Girl | October 20, 2010

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