Being a Leader that Stands by Your Word We have been working on have to get our careers moving on a fast track. Nothing is more important than being a character driven person of integrity. Of course that means being a person of your word. A leader doesn’t avoid promises. He understands that generating promises is essential to cultivating forward moving progress. A leader generates and understands the importance of keeping them. He recognizes the importance of what he says, and says nothing he is unwillingly to support with action. Leaders have several challenges in the arena of promise-making and keeping.
It’s challenging for leaders to remember commitments over time. The leader must develop a system for acknowledging commitments made and caring for them. It is disheartening for co-workers and employers to be anticipating the fulfillment of a commitment that eventually becomes obvious has been forgotten. The employee feels insignificant and taken for granted.
The leader needs to communicate commitments clearly. When she has made a commitment, a leader must spell out exactly what has been promised and can be expected. Leave as little to the imagination as possible as far as expectations are concerned. Progress will occur with less tension and more enjoyment when everyone is on page with what has actually been promised.
Sometimes commitments need to change hands. It often is true that the original promise-maker is not the one who can actually fulfill the commitment the best, or she needs assistance. Maybe for success, the task needs handed off between departments or personnel. It is a wise leader who knows when new team members can handle it better and release the commitment to then to fulfill. When transferring the responsibility, direct and clear communication is essential. The need people need to understand the boundaries of the commitment made, to whom are they responsible, and what is expected now.
It’s a common reality that sometimes priorities and circumstances change. It doesn’t necessarily mean the original promise was wrong. It may be that the season has changed and something else is necessary at this point. Most likely, the commitment will need an overhaul and adjustments to fit current realities. This can be handled with grace and without losing momentum, as long as communication is clear, and the people affected have an opportunity to be part of the discussion.
Promise making and keeping is an essential part of leadership. A leader that does not manage this well will struggle with commitment drift in himself and the team he is trying to lead. Next time, we will look at the elements of good commitment making.