Today’s business tip is really nothing more than a simple common courtesy, yet it seems to have become a lost art for many in today’s hyper-frantic 24×7 world in which we conduct business. It has to do with returning people’s phone calls, responding to emails, confirming you’ve received information others have sent you, and/or completing tasks that you agreed to as outcomes of meetings or working in teams.
We can get overwhelmed with work when we’re working harder than ever and putting in more hours. For many of us, our workload has increased significantly when we inherited the work performed by others in our organization laid off. But that does not justify refusing to extend others the courtesy of a call back, email reply, or status update on the work we agreed to contribute.
This failure to follow up may have something to do with a more subtle issue of deciding to be passive aggressive when we don’t want to talk to the person contacting us or we put off doing the tasks that were assigned to us or we volunteered to do. When this happens, our reputation demands we act in the most professional manner.
Whatever the motivation, when you make a commitment to follow up with someone or take on an action your decision not to follow through speaks volumes about you…and it’s not positive. Your reputational brand is a transferrable skill that you take with you. By establishing a proven track record of reliability and accountability, it becomes a part of your USP – Unique Selling Proposition.
A further motivation for having the professionalism to follow through on commitments has to do with the very small world that we live in. We all know Kevin Bacon through six degrees of (LinkedIn) interconnectedness.
When you make a bad impression with others (whether it’s with peers in your organization or acquaintances you know in your social or professional network) it can become a Scarlet Letter that brands you as someone that lacks respect for others.
So, is there someone you owe a call to? Pick up the phone and call them, or return those emails sitting in your in-box.
Consider it an invaluable step in your ongoing career and professional development.