… a core concept in Leadership Skills and Atlas 109

dependabilityConcept description

A reputation for dependability, defined by Merriam-Webster as “able to be trusted to do or provide what is needed,” helps one become more effective in an organization.

The statement of Michigan State Behavioral Competencies lists indicators of dependability as:

  • Completes work in a timely manner;
  • Meet commitments with minimal oversight;
  • Meets commitments with others;
  • Conscientious, thorough, accurate, and reliable when performing and completing job tasks.

In his September 2015 Forbes article, The Dependability Test: Are You The Office Flake?, Rob Asghar, pointedly suggests that in an office setting the opposite of dependability is flakiness. He suggests that signs of being a flake include:

  • You think of yourself as a “fly by the seat of your pants” person. You like to keep your options open.
  • You feel burdened and anxious when colleagues try to lock down a time slot on your calendar. Truth be told, you don’t keep a calendar.
  • For whatever reason, you have more crises than the next person: You’re like a fireman, constantly hosing down one crisis after another, which means neglecting long-term goals and obligations.
  • When you “can’t” make to it a meeting or event that you’d committed to attending, you assume other people will understand.
  • You sometimes decide that you can and want to attend an event, so you casually gift them with your presence without having RSVP’d in advance.

Needless to say, such undependable behaviours do not build trust or help one work effectively in an organization.


Atlas page Michigan State Behavioral Competencies, and original source at Michigan State University, Human Resources, at, accessed 15 February 2016.

Rob Asghar (2015), The Dependability Test: Are You The Office Flake?, Forbes 10 September 2015, at, accessed 15 February 2016.

Atlas topic and subject

Working in Organizations (core topic) in Leadership Skills.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 15 February 2016.

Image: Character Trades, at, accessed 15 February 2016.