In Part I of this series we discussed Integrity and the concept of being “whole” as a leader. There is more to it than one blog entry and I hope that you have wrestled with what makes you come alive! We need leaders who are alive…and making a difference for their team…not just imparting direction! In Part II we move to Commitment…Commitment is a big word. Sadly we see too many leaders these days demonstrating a lack of commitment resulting in failed institutions, the loss of fortunes, broken families, and overall heartache. We see leaders without commitment in business, government, the military, and education. They are everywhere. It stinks – and many suffer for it. Where does commitment fall into your leadership philosophy? I hope it’s near the very top because it should be.
Commitment should take many forms – commitment to your customers, to your employees, to your family, spouse, to doing the right thing, regardless of the cost – whatever your endeavor is…but commitment must be a part of your Leadership DNA. Without it you will falter, you will collapse when you are “hit” in the battle of life. Without commitment you won’t last and others will suffer alongside you
A risk for leaders is when their commitment turns inward – (for example, the Penn State handling of the Sandusky case). When leaders become committed to themselves before others, protecting themselves, under the guise of protecting the office, company, or institution – they fail to meet their commitment to those whom they lead and serve. Many suffer when this happens – it is horrific.
Leaders must be committed to following the rules, to being proficient (which includes being a student of people), to making decisions focused on the welfare of those who are “flying with them”, committed to making decisions that aren’t rooted in ego or machismo. Without commitment to the right things, when the going gets tough, you won’t last and others will suffer alongside or because of you.
So how can we demonstrate Commitment to the folks on our team? Here are a few thoughts on making commitment real in your daily leadership endeavors! Having earned the title of Marine I am partial to our ethos and principles…With the Marine Corps’ Leadership Principles as a framework – here are a few things to consider.
- Know who your people ARE and look out for them.
- Put the safety and health of your team-members above all other objectives.
- Take care of their needs – help them grow as people.
- Step in and resolve conflicts between individuals on the team.
- Keep your team informed of what’s going on – people don’t perform when they are wondering “What’s next?”
- Provide accurate and timely informational meetings or notices.
- Give the reason (intent) for assignments and tasks.
- Make yourself available to answer questions at appropriate times.
- Build the team.
- Conduct frequent debriefings with the team & individuals to identify lessons learned.
- Recognize individual and team accomplishments and reward them appropriately (in front of others! Which is arguably more important than money).
- Apply disciplinary measures equally (not the same though!).
- Employ your team in accordance with their capabilities.
- Observe human behavior in relation to what is required by the project.
- Provide early warning to subordinates of tasks they will be responsible for.
- Consider team experience, fatigue and physical limitations when making assignments (that includes office work…people can quickly become exhausted working at a desk on a mentally challenging or high pressure assignment.
So there it is…a springboard for leading with commitment! Now, live free – live whole, lead well…and show your people commitment at every level!