What Do You Do When You Fail to Honor Your Commitments?

“Commitment: an agreement or pledge to do something in the future.” Merriam-Webster

Making commitments to teams, projects, and even ourselves can be difficult for many of us. Especially when we don’t feel we have the power to control the outcome or the ability to get the job done. The added challenge is we fear failure and making mistakes.

The truth is when you fail to honor your commitments, you stop trusting yourself. And, others stop trusting you. It limits your ability to get the job done now and develop career opportunities for the future.

As a leader, your commitment is your word. It’s your reputation. It builds trust. Trust is crucial for the team and company to deliver on promises made to each other and customers. Honoring commitments creates a workplace culture where people trust each other and thrive.

6 Tips to Restore Your Ability to Make Commitments and Honor Them

Listen with Intention. Too often you’re not listening to others, or yourself! Stop the internal mental chatter and put away your electronic distractions. Focus on listening. Before agreeing to a solution, ask questions to ensure you understand the problem.

Be a Parrot. This ensures you are clear about your commitment. Take the time to listen to what you’ve promised. Repeat back to the person what you’re promising. Ask the team or person, “Just to be sure we’re on the same page can you repeat back what I promised?”

Write It Down. Get confirmation. Many times, you believe you’ll remember what you’ve promised. Yet you are too busy to remember everything. Write everything down, especially the details, and schedule it now! Ask others to write it down too.

No matter how well you believe you’ve documented a conversation, team members may come back with a different version. For example, Bob, a business owner, made an offer to John, a sales rep, for a base salary of $30,000 for one year. Neither wrote it down. A year later John was surprised when his base salary stopped. He thought it was for the full length of his employment. Both believed they were right. And, John left soon after. If you don’t write it down, it can cause problems and hurt feelings when you forget and memories can be faulty.

“Making a commitment to your team requires more than just showing up.” Jeannette Seibly

Remember, It’s a Team Effort. Together with the team, create the ideas and actions required to resolve the problem. Now, you’re ready to make your commitment and honor it.

Ask for Help! Successful leaders are unafraid to say, “I need help!” If you need help to fulfill the commitment, ask for it now or along the way! Don’t wait too long. Memories fade and unfortunately, some people may manipulate the situation in their favor.

Make Commitments You Can Deliver. It’s how you keep great customers and employees. Making mindful commitments and over-delivering on your promises builds trust. Stay in communication after you’ve agreed on a specific time and date to get back in touch.

Doing this every time makes a profound difference in attracting and keeping great talent and customers.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2020

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker for 28 years. She is an expert in guiding leaders and their teams to get unstuck and achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

A Note About Commitments from Jeannette. Commitments are difficult for many of us. We don’t like feeling obligated to deliver on time and within budget. Yet, this is how you build trust in yourself, your boss, team members, and customers. Hire a coach and learn how to make delivering on commitments a fun part of your job!

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