If you’re like most people, at one time or another you’ve hired a contractor to work around your house. Does this sound familiar: You contact them and wait days for a call back. They promise you’ll have an estimate the next day, but you receive it days later. They say they’ll begin work on the twelfth, and that day comes and goes. They show up with one person, even though they promised three. You’re told that the job will be completed in two days and yet it takes four. And, when the work is completed, they ask if you’re willing to serve as a reference. Really? While the final product may be excellent, the experience was awful — they were anything but reliable.
This experience isn’t limited to just contractors. Regardless of your business or position in life, if you’re not reliable, it can damage trust and credibility, ruin an experience, and even destroy a relationship.
You can be the most talented person in the world, but if you’re not reliable,
you’re going nowhere fast.
How to Spot an Unreliable Person
Here are 10 warning signs of an unreliable person:
Unresponsive. Some people are so unenthusiastic, detached, and uncaring that you just want to shake them.
Inconsiderate. Some folks fail to return calls or emails, show up unexpectedly, and when they leave, your place looks like a battle zone. They’re just plain rude.
Self-centered. Some people are insensitive, disloyal, and greedy. They’re so opportunistic, they’ll always place their interests ahead of yours.
Erratic. Some folks show up late, say one thing yet do another, and make promises they’ll never keep. You’re never sure if you can count on them.
Volatile. Some people are so moody you never know who they’ll be each day.
Flaky. Some folks are scatterbrained. They create false expectations, fail to follow through, and continually hit you with an unforeseen surprise. (Ugh.)
Indecisive. Some people couldn’t make a decision if their life depended on it. They procrastinate, wait till the last minute, and then expect you to help them make up for lost time.
Weak. Some folks are spineless. They have no original thoughts or opinions of their own and are two-faced. Other than that, you can depend on them.
Careless. Some people are sloppy, lack attention to detail, and do everything half-baked. You always have to look over their shoulder.
Unprincipled. Some folks have no personal standards or scruples. They surround themselves with unsavory people, cut corners to make an extra buck, and would say or do anything if it benefited them personally.
Are You Reliable? The Consequences Are Huge!
Some folks have no idea how their behavior affects others. They think, “I’m reliable most of the time,” or “I get paid to deliver a product, not hand-hold people.” As an example, when people go to a fine restaurant, they expect great food, great service, and a great atmosphere. This isn’t a multiple-choice situation. Being deficient in any one area results in a poor experience for others.
If you think that doing the right thing most of the time makes you reliable,
you’re kidding yourself.
If you’re unresponsive, inconsiderate, self-centered, erratic, careless, volatile, flaky, indecisive, weak, or unprincipled — some of the time — you’re unreliable. You can refuse to accept reality, but “some of the time” isn’t good enough.
When you behave properly on a consistent basis, it allows people to predict your behavior with some degree of confidence. BUT, if inappropriate behavior is displayed at any time during the process, it will cast a shadow on the relationship — and weaken the bonds of trust.
Does your behavior cause people to think they never have to worry when you’re on the job? Or does it give people sleepless nights? Do your actions send the signal that you’ll always try your best and do what’s right? The truth is, it’s not only what you do, but the type of person you are that signals your reliability. When people know that you live with honor and integrity, they won’t look over your shoulder, second-guess your decisions, or question your motives. They know you have their best interest at heart — that’s called trust. And that’s the highest seal of approval anyone can receive.
Are You Reliable?
Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.
A Promise Is A Promise
50 Ways to Lose Trust and Credibility
Why Do You Trust Some People and Mistrust Others?
Live with Honor and Integrity
How Credible Are You?
45 Surefire Ways to Torpedo a Customer Relationship
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Julie Merrill says
I have, unfortunately, had the contractor experience you’ve described in your article. However, in my case I was already so financially committed to the work that when my calls went unanswered by the contractor or he gave me the run around I had no choice but to contact the local department of consumer affairs and get them involved. I’m glad I did otherwise the work may have never been completed. It was a construction project that ran over two years but could have been completed sooner had I had a “reliable” contractor. Fortunately it all worked out in the end. It served as a very good lesson to have someone completely vetted before selecting them to do a major project.
However, I’ve also seen many unreliable and “flakey” people in the workplace as well. Those who demonstrate they’re unreliable no matter what they say they’ll do they always over promise and under deliver. In the workplace I’ve found it always comes down to the selection process. If the wrong individual is selected for the position the wrong results will often occur.
Thank you for sharing your article. I’m sure it will strike a chord in some way with all who read it.
Frank Sonnenberg says
Unfortunately we all know stories like the one you shared. You have to ask yourself, what are they thinking? Good news travels fast while bad news travels faster.
As I say, “Never win at the expense of a relationship.”
Thanks for taking the time to write.