While psychological safety is about “how much I believe others won’t judge me”, dependability is about “how much I believe others will do what they say they will.”
being informed and prepared
being thoughtful and organised
In a team, dependability can be perceived by coworkers as being trustworthy and organised, and that in return:
builds trust in relationships
allows team members to focus on important tasks without worrying
Understanding the personality trait of conscientiousness is helpful for understanding what drives dependable behaviour.
Conscientiousness has two aspects that differ in individuals:
Duty is often described to as “getting along” beacuse it refers to keeping one’s promises. If a responsible employee fulfils their work obligations to others, they will anticipate thankfulness from others. If work obligations are not carried out, they will anticipate guilt toward others. This is why dutiful people tend to be orderly, deliberate and make dependable coworkers.
Achievement striving, often decribed as “getting ahead”, focuses on being orderly and deliberate too, but for goals one has for oneself. This aspect is strongly associated with competitiveness and usually doesn’t result in dependability towards others.
Research findings showed that, in the workplace scenario, dutiful individuals go above and beyond to help and keep their promises, while high achievers only offered help when they viewed helping behaviour as necessary for rewards or avoiding punishment.
If organisations want high achievers to engage in helpful actions with colleagues and consistently show up as dependable, they must clearly specify this as a job/role expectation.