Do people believe you’ll do what you say you will?
Here’s the reality of many corporate cultures. People are in a meeting, mostly agreeing on a stated direction. Discussion takes place. Commitments are made. People leave the room. Some of what was discussed happens easily. Other stuff transpires that is at direct odds with what people agreed to. In some cases, people drop the ball entirely. In the end the collaborative effort is an exercise in frustration and disappointment.
This scenario may sound harsh, but if you’re honest with yourself, I think it’s likely you’ve experienced this all to often in your work life.
I believe there are two core causes of this less than trustworthy behavior.
One is that people find it more efficient and less scary to simply agree in meetings rather than facing conflict. And second, I think the chaos of life and business take over and people have trouble living up to all the commitments they make, even though they had good intentions.
As a leader you need to be comfortable facing conflict with grace and compassion. Far better that you state your objections up front and let people know what you can reasonably commit to than to let people down. If you walk out of a meeting with people silently questioning your ability to fulfill on promises, your influence as a leader is severely limited.
An essential part of being a high-impact leader is quickly assessing what’s viable for you personally and for the team. If you need to renege on a commitment, it’s crucial that you communicate why and what your new promise is. But don’t make a habit of redefining commitments, because it will diminish your credibility.
The delicate balance here is that to excel as a leader, you need to be brave and thoroughly grounded in reality at exactly the same time.
Without bravery you won’t inspire excellence. Without a firm grip on reality,
you won’t inspire trust.
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