I remember my friend explaining to me how she was doing at her new job.
She said her boss was highly competent, very nice, and used an “open door” policy.
“That’s good! Sounds like you and your boss will get along just fine,” I replied.
After a slight hesitation, my friend said, “Well… maybe, but there’s just something about him. He always comes up with these great ideas, but hardly follows up on them. He may remember to do one thing every once in a while, but we never take him for his word on everything.”
Her response reminded me of the old adage: a man without his word is nothing. In other words, do what you say you will. That’s the only way people can start seeing you as trustworthy.
The part that particularly stood out to me was that her boss actually did follow through every once in a while, but because he didn’t show a pattern of doing what he said he would, his trust was lost.
Consistency is the key.
It’s not a matter of only following through on the big things—that’s when a lot of people pull it together and get things done.
You have to make sure you’re faithful in the small things. Follow up on the call you said you would make, take the next steps assigned to you in the meeting, respond to that email, etc. Basically, if the ball is in your court, you can’t just let it sit there—shoot it!
“It’s so simple really: If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you start something, finish it.” – Epictetus
And if you’re too busy to hold up your end of the bargain, don’t agree to do it. (Great leaders say, “No,” remember?) Besides, trust isn’t built upon good intentions—it’s built on dependable action.
The ball will certainly drop a few times. We’re all human. But don’t allow those errors to happen too frequently, or they’ll start to define your character.
So it doesn’t matter how much of a “people person” you are or how well you do your job. Those factors certainly have their place, but who cares about any of that if no one can rely on what you say. Consistency is what enables people to build a firm, long-lasting trust in you.