This is the thirteenth post in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties, and this time we’re focusing on reliability. We touched on some elements of this in our article on commitment, but the importance of demonstrating reliability cannot be overstated. You want to be a rock for your colleagues - being so will earn you a great deal of kudos and respect. However, you should also respect your own shortcomings and say in advance when you might be about to let someone down.
Managing your own time
Being reliable doesn’t necessarily mean always getting stuff done. It also means knowing when you can’t get something done and being honest about it. If you need to take some time out of the office for example, make sure you give enough notice and your colleagues have everything they need to keep things going in your absence. You should also never put yourself in a position where you have to start making excuses as to why things haven’t been done - this is the first step on the road being an unreliable worker, and you certainly want to avoid that reputation so early in your career. If you fall behind or are at risk of not achieving what the business expects of you, talk to your superiors about it in a professional and honest way. They’ll respect your honesty, and probably give you the help you need to deliver.
Reliability and loyalty go hand in hand. If you’ve got the best interests of the business and your colleagues at heart, you’re more likely to be well respected and be seen as a reliable person. This extends beyond the reaches of simply getting tasks done and meeting deadlines. It’s about being there for your team when they need you and providing support in many different ways. Whether it’s lending an extra pair of hands when things get busy, or simply supporting their decisions in a meeting - it all adds up.
Being reliable is about more than just hard work
Hitting those deadlines is crucial, but so is turning up at the same time every day. You might be that one person who gets everyone a cup of tea during a stressful afternoon. Or perhaps you’re a good listener and lend people your ear when they need it. All of these things are just as important as getting the work done when it come to reliability. They may not seem important on their own, but over time they’ll help paint a picture of you as someone who is dependable and worthy of time and respect.
Reliability is something we should all strive for, both inside and outside of the office. Sometimes it’s about extending simple courtesies like arriving at meetings on time, and other times it’s about juggling crazy workloads and delivering things on time. So long as you’re honest, committed and willing to seek help when you need it, you’ll be a reliable employee.