20 Commitments that Enhance Leadership
Leaders without commitments frantically bounce like balls in pinball machines with no clear direction. Commitments are stabilizing stakes in the ground that guide behaviors and inform decisions.
Commitments are decisions you don’t reconsider.
Top leadership commitments include:
- Clarify. Clarity drives success.
- Know where you’re going and tell others, often.
- Act. Step toward the future. Only look backward as it enables forward movement.
- Choose optimism or get out of leadership.
- Point out what isn’t working, quickly.
- Don’t whine.
- Set deadlines.
- Find celebration points every day.
- Act in harmony with your heart. Pleasing others always falls within your values.
- Pause. Stop doing and spend time in self-reflection, daily. Failure to reflect creates disconnected frantic lives.
- People before projects. It’s always about building people who become part of effective teams.
- Study people. Know and understand what makes them tick and wind their clocks.
- Ask hard questions.
- Stop giving answers; help others find them.
- Encourage all the time, even when correcting.
- Use mistakes as learning opportunities rather than blaming moments.
- Let others know they matter by explaining their contribution.
- Look people in the eye, gently.
Bonus: Say, “I don’t know. What do you think?”
Which leadership commitments are most important?
What did I leave off this list?
A leader without commitments is like a ship without a rudder. With either one, you got tossed about constantly and never get anywhere.
Nicely said Allen. Best wishes
On #12: Use the Start, Stop and Continue model for continous improvement. 1. What do we need to start doing that will help the team? 2. What do we need to stop doing that is not helping the team? 3. What do we need to continue doing that is helping the team?
Great add, Mark. Thank you.
Stopping may be the most important thing we need to do.
I believe it could be important to differentiate here. Is there a difference between commitment statements and personal value statements? Having a vision/clarity statement for you own life AND a list of nonnegotiable are an absolute must for the “rudder” or “grounded stakes” to be in place. It helps us know what to say ‘yes’ to and what to say ‘no’ to.
My second question/thought is one of narrowing the focus. I believe those clarity statements should be clear, memorable, and focused. If we broaden the scope to far we can lose the laser beam effect. Is this true?
I wonder… would people post personal clarity statements to give traction to this? I PROBABLY WANT THIS BECAUSE ONE OF MINE IS ‘CLEAR EXPECTATIONS’ and ‘CLARIFICATION’…
Great questions and comments.
Q1: Commitments express values.
Q2: Narrowing focus expands impact. Here’s one of my commitments: 300 words or less. Brevity in a busy world is valuable. As long as brevity doesn’t create confusion. 🙂
re 18: Use the mistakes of others as TEACHING opportunities rather than blaming moments.
Nice shift from you to them… 🙂
Leaders draw out and affirm the best in others, so they can excel.
Leaders equip others so that they can do what they do best.
Thanks for your insights Joe.
Over the past few years, I’ve seen the power of drawing out and affirming the best in others… 🙂
Look back and if someone is not following find out why.
Hi Larry. Great seeing you here today. Love your insight.
Perhaps one reason we don’t look back is we don’t want to face the truth. OUCH
This is one of the best blog entries that I’ve ever read on what it is or takes to be a successful Leader. So much goes into each item that you listed but it is a great explanation and gives a solid foundation for those who wonder “what makes a great leader?”
Caring and serving others is often times pushed aside due to our selfish nature(s). I appreciate that they were the first two things mentioned. Thanks Dan!
Thank you Jennifer. Encouragement and affirmation helps. 🙂
I put caring first because I think it is first.
Almost all the points have been covered. I would rather add two components- accountability and integrity. Though they are interrelated, interconnected and sometimes integrated. Commitment is not optional, instead it is compulsion. Any deviation from commitment needs proper and timely justification. Otherwise it become false promise. Commitment instils accountability. So, leaders can not escape from being accountable when they commit. They show a sign of integrity in their actions, decisions and behaviors. Commitment tests person. It challenges person. And it invites risk. When people are not committed, they tend to lose trust of others. Committed persons need to sacrifices many personal needs. It means for committed person, people need is more important than person need.
I love how your comment is cohesive and ties accountability and integrity together. Your insights help me see in new ways.
I’m mulling over “When people are not committed they lose trust of others” … I hadn’t thought of that but I think I’ve seen that happen.
No one is most important, sans any one of them and your leadership is greatly diminished.
Ajay beat me to the accountability tenet, could morph it to ‘be responsible’
Would modify ‘don’t whine’ to ‘whine with humor’ as a group.
With your bonus, an alternative: ‘I have an idea, however, I really want to learn what you think first.’ That values the other’s perspective and says you are still learning too.
Wonder if an umbrella for several of these might be ‘unconditional positive regard’. Still working on that one… 😉
It is my pleasure. your acknowledgement on my comment is inspiring. I believe that accountability is equal to answer- ability whereas responsibility is not answer- ability. I appreciate your idea about unconditional positive regard. It is a powerful idea. We naturally expect when we respect or help someone.
Thanks Doc, Your “whine with humor as a group” comment really got me thinking. Everyone needs a place to vent…
Sometimes I feel things I know are better left unsaid. Yet, finding a place/person to share those feelings is important, useful.
Am remembering a certain 300 words or less blog that opened the door to Wednesday Whines if I am not mistaken…
That’s too funny Doc. Must be time for another Whining Wednesday!! 🙂
Great insights, thanks.
If I could add another “bonus,” I would suggest: “LISTEN. Don’t just hear, but listen”
Beating Dan to it… Ka-ching!
A comprehensive list of leadership commitments. I lay greater emphasis on Point nos. 9 & 13. The commitment of timely deliveries and people development are the two major responsibilities of any good leader.
Visualization of future and the likely challenges and opportunities can also be added to this list. The relevance of having an updated Industry knowledge can also be the essential commitment area. Sustainability of a leadership position with proven results and qualitative inputs with creativity can bring the new dimension to the most desirable expectations at the No.1 slot.
This is great! Thought provoking and I know that it will allow different people to think about and focus on different things. I have circulated to 189 staff this morning- I wonder what people will reflect upon? 🙂
Great list. One of our leaders in our community presented a four point list:
– Observe everything
– Overlook a lot
– Challenge some
– Encourage all
Find celebration points every day is the take away for me this morning. Finding celebration requires reflection. Committing to identifying daily celebration points as a team has great potential for elevating the overall energy. Am committing to put this into practice for the team I am fortunate to serve.
One that comes to mind. “Seek first to understand”. Before reacting, adapting, leading… if I don’t understand I might be doing all those incorrectly. So it has become a personnel commitment to take that step before mapping out an answer.
Yes,oo,always pretend as if you don’t see
Great list. One I’d definitely add as it relates to many other on the list – commit to ongoing personal growth and development and increasing leadership self awareness.
Is “Serve” (the second item in your list) alludes to the new concept of servant leadership in management (see: http://www.pmhut.com/the-emerging-servant-leadership-paradigm )
By the way, I really like point #10, find celebration points every day!