Monday, April 29, 2024


In addition to being honest, an effective leader will earn trust by being reliable in everything they do. Conversely, if a leader proves to be unreliable, employees will not trust them. This makes it vital to follow through on everything you say. If you indicate that there is a boundary that employees should not cross, you must address it when that boundary is crossed, even if it is with a mild response such as “don’t do that again.” If you say you will give an employee certain requested time off, then you must follow through. If you tell an employee you will follow up, then it is vital to follow up. Being reliable also means being consistent. Ignoring one employee’s misdeeds or successes is as bad as ignoring every employee’s success or misdeed. In some ways, it is even worse because it can communicate a sense of favoritism. The level of pressure and the amount of work you have before you may make it impossible to meet every one of your commitments. However, you can lessen this reality through adopting the following suggestions:

  • Keep a well-organized planner, either a calendar or some sort of organizing system in which you can write down your commitments. Make a point to acknowledge your receipt of employees’ requests in writing, but also remind employees that you must have requests in writing as well.
  •  Don’t over-promise and under-deliver. If you aren’t sure if you can award time off, don’t tell the employee that you can. One of the most important things you can tell an employee yet one of the most difficult is that you don’t know or you are not sure. While you may fear that this will undermine your employee’s confidence in you, you can counter this with a statement that you will find out. Make sure that you follow-up, however, if you do make that promise.

If you find that you are unable to meet a previous obligation that you made, make sure that you inform the other person as soon as possible. Sometimes an emergency can come up, or the situation can change. You don’t need to offer a full explanation most of the time (although in some cases it may be necessary and appreciated), but you do need to let the other person know as soon as you know. If you have a meeting with an employee scheduled but cannot make it, try to reschedule it as soon as possible.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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