Strip #6: “You do what you say you will do…keep it up!”
I’ve talked about this in a couple previous posts, so I am not going to spend too much time on it. “Promises made, promises kept” seems to be making the circuit these days as the catchphrase for this concept, but I’ve found leaders often have blind spots here. It’s all too easy to subconsciously hedge, even if just momentarily, on whether a promise was ever made. This is really risky behavior. I could sacrifice almost any other leadership principle and survive, but never this one.
It is so easy to miss that a seemingly trivial request, something I gave just half a nod to yesterday, is the most important thing a team member is waiting on today. You have to listen deliberately and answer every question with conscious commitment. You have to be continuously aware in every exchange. Not so much about whether you are making a promise, but about whether you are generating new expectations. Your mental accountant has to be completely on point. If 10 expectations get created, 10 answers are due, and part of you can’t rest until 10 are delivered. You can be right on this a hundred times but if you get it wrong once, you’re back underwater again.
Bottom line: You really, really want this feedback. From every employee. On every team.
-These quotes are from a jar that my team presented me as I was leaving to accept a promotion. They are the impressions, thoughts, and ideas that they had come to associate with me during my time there. I’ve decided to share them, and what I remember of how they came to be, with my readers as I draw them at random-