Your cumulative record of adherence to your commitments forms the essence of how others view you. So get clear on your commitments, make fewer of them, and keep the ones that you make. Seek to minimize the impact of any commitments you choose to break by informing others in advance that you will not keep the agreement. If this is not possible, acknowledge breakdowns as soon as possible after the fact. One example of an important agreement is time. How you manage your time agreements with your people is very important. If you set a meeting to start at 9 a.m. and you show up at 9:15 a.m., what message does that send to those in attendance? It says that the meeting and they are not really important to you. Let me be clear, this isn’t about being on time for everything. I’m talking about managing your time agreements so that everyone’s expectations are clear. For example, if you’re a person who shows up late for everything, let people know that for you 9 a.m. means between 9 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. Let people know the nature of what time means to you, and seek to understand what time means to them. Beyond time, extend this type of management to every one of your agreements to build trust with all your people. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to set a great example of managing all agreements. People will notice your behaviors and follow your lead.
Seven leadership rules that help organizations rise to new peaks of performance are featured in my latest book, Energized Enterprise.