We’ve all had the experience of leaders, bosses, employees, vendors, clients, and co-workers telling us of their commits to the team, company, and/or project. Yet, their actions tell a different story. These actions tell the truth about a person’s true commitment.
Have you ever worked with someone who promised to deliver a service or product by a certain time and date, and failed to do so? And, to make matters worse, instead of apologizing they keep saying, “I forgot.” OR “It’s not my fault.” OR “I don’t remember it.”
These types of replies and attitudes send out a distinct message: You don’t value the relationship.
Before you deny others’ reactions, answer this question: If I promised you a million dollars to be at a certain place by a certain time, would you be there on time? Most would say, “Absolutely yes!” That’s commitment!
While the conversation about commitment can bring up a lot of excuses, successful leaders understand that their actions speak louder than their words. Their actions reflect their true commitments to people and teams.
As leaders, remember that while the commitment you make may not seem that important to you, it is very important to others and will be long remembered.
How to Put Your Commitments into Focused Actions
Be Present during Conversations. Memories can be faulty, particularly in conversations where you are attempting to multi-task. So, pay attention to what you are promising. When you make a commitment, write it down. Listen and check back with the person to clarify what they heard to ensure you’re both on the same page. Again: Write. It. Down.
Keep Great People in Your Business (and Life). It’s easier and less expensive to keep great employees and clients than look for new ones. This starts with straight talk. Take Responsibility. Nothing is worse than someone failing to take responsibility for what they committed to do. Don’t rely on your memory. When you make a commitment to offer a lower price or promise delivery by a certain date, fulfill that promise. If it is impossible, then, call before the deadline to let them know.
Develop a Higher Level of Integrity. Doing what you say by when you say is critical for every leader, even more so today. Many leaders spend more time justifying their lack of actions and poor results than honoring their commitments. Set aside your ego and hire an executive coach to help you achieve the intended results of your commitments. This level of integrity speakers louder than any words you can say!
Take the High Road When There is Failure. There will always be times when you cannot fulfill your commitments. Have a straight conversation with the person or team involved and don’t wait until the last minute to do so. Apologize. Complete the conversation by reviewing what worked and what didn’t work and end with acknowledging each other. Now, make a new commitment. This is a great opportunity for everyone to end on a positive note because you never know when you may need to work with each other in the future. (CAUTION! If this is something you need to do more than once in a while, work with an executive coach to determine how to transform your role in it. Or, you will sideline your career.)
View a Hand Shake or Verbal Agreement the Same as a Signed Contract. Many companies still do business by a hand shake and honor their verbal commitments. If an agreement is complex or long term, have an attorney draft a contract for both parties to review and sign. Or, put an agreement in outline format for everyone to review and agree to. Be sure all parties sign. Now, it’s time to honor the commitment!
©Jeannette Seibly, 2020
Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker. For more than 27 years, she has been an expert in guiding leaders to excel at leading by example and building trust. The new world of work has started. Are you ready? Contact Jeannette to improve your strategic hiring, coaching, training, and managing processes. Don’t forget to listen to her podcasts on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.
Make a commitment to yourself and your team to be the best leader you can be. Now, fulfill that commitment by learning about your management style and how to improve your skills! Your team will thank you! Contact Jeannette about the CheckPoint 360oassessment.