For leaders, failing to fulfill commitments is a cardinal sin.
When those in charge don’t follow through on their promises, people in the organization take notice and will long remember that they were let down. Respect may be lost, which can seriously impact motivation and productivity.
In the current business landscape, there’s frequent change, uncertainty, and ambiguity at every turn. That means your word as a leader is more important than ever. If you struggle with follow-through, it’s worth the effort to develop a disciplined, conscientious approach to keeping your commitments. The essence of promise-based management lies in the careful execution of commitments that nurture trust.
In this article, we will share five helpful strategies for crafting promises that are meant to be kept, not broken.
1. Record and share your workplace promises.
When you say you’re going to do something, don’t assume you’ll remember it. Write down your promises and communicate them to those who are involved. Be sure to let others know what to expect and when. You may want to use a time management tool like iCalendar to set reminders. If your commitment is longer-range, send out occasional communications regarding the status to keep people in the loop and demonstrate that you haven’t forgotten about the obligation.
2. Don’t over-commit.
It’s much worse to over-promise and under-deliver than to not commit in the first place. People have greater respect for leaders who know when to say no and can recognize their limitations. When you’re faced with the decision to make a commitment or promise, make sure it’s something you will be able to accomplish.
3. Negotiate as needed.
Skilled promise makers actively negotiate their commitments to ensure successful delivery. These discussions may cover key aspects such as unrealistic time schedules, conflicting assumptions, and potential misunderstandings. Make room for compromise, as well.
4. Is it within your control?
Don’t make promises that rely on someone else’s deliverables or that depend on circumstances you can’t control. For example, if your shipping company has been perfect to date, you can vouch for them, but you shouldn’t make any guarantees on their behalf. If they fail to deliver, you’re still the one who didn’t live up to your commitment.
5. Make sure it’s clear and specific.
An explicit promise is vital for eliminating multiple interpretations and misunderstandings. When you promise something, ensure that it is explained in detail and that all parties involved are in agreement. Checklists can be helpful in this effort by stipulating key aspects, such as names, delivery dates, underlying rationales, and required skills.
Promise-based management has the power to increase collaboration, build trust, boost engagement, and foster agility across the organization. It also nurtures a sense of personal accountability, which is particularly beneficial amid times of significant change and upheaval.
Poorly-crafted commitments are often the underlying reason that strategy execution falters. If you’re seeking to prevent promise breakdown in your organization, The HR Team is here with the guidance you need. Please contact our experts today to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.