Saturday, November 15, 2008

Good leaders don't over promise

Guess we've all seen the press in the last six months, and notice there have been quite a few countries running elections. Now the financial mess is starting to be better understood it will be interesting to see who made promises they cannot possibly keep. The voters of many countries in the next year may reflect and wonder what happened to some of these promises.

But more importantly as leaders of our own teams, are we vigilant when we make promises to our team members??

Before we make any promises, we need to check, do I really need to offer this? Am I absolutely certain I can fulfill my side of the bargain? What would be the difference in the outcome if I didn't make this promise? When we stop and assess the impact before we make any promises it will allow us to appreciate what it is that we are proposing.

Personally I know over the years many of my previous managers have promised certain things, yet as it transpired they did not have control to make the promises good. What was the result? Obviously some frustration, but the more damaging outcome was that their credibility was eroded. The next time such a promise was offered I was in no way as obliging to accept the challenge.

As good leaders we need to be sure that we can deliver on what we offer, because failure to do so will damage us greatly in the long term.

So next time you start to promise something take a moment and think - will this be a positive experience for all involved.

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