The Three Commitments Leaders Must Make
This DATIS blog article, "The Three Commitments Leaders Must Make", was originally posted by Kevin Eikenberry, Leadership & Learning with Kevin Eikenberry, on July 25th, 2016 and was reposted with permission.
This title is misleading.
Because, I suppose you don’t have to make any of these commitments; yet, to the degree that you don’t make them, you will reduce your success. Stated another way, there is a direct correlation between a leader’s commitment and their success.
Given that profoundly important point, perhaps a more accurate title would be The three commitments committed leaders make.
What are those commitments?
Commitment to the Organization and its Mission
Leadership isn’t really about you; it is about the direction you are leading people towards. If you can’t be fully invested in that destination, you may be in the wrong place.
Whether you are a Senior executive, business owner, or a front-line supervisor, as a leader you are the face of your organization to those you lead. If you want people who understand the mission and purpose of your organization and will invest their time, talent and heart into their work, how can you expect it if they don’t see it from you?
Yes, you must be able to communicate the mission and purpose clearly, but it is far more important that people see you living it first. As always, people watch your feet, more than your lips. If you want more commitment from your team, start with yourself.
If you aren’t fully committed to your organization, ask yourself what you could do to change that. If you don’t believe you can, you owe it to yourself, your team and the organization to find someplace else to lead.
Commitment to Your Team
Leadership isn’t about you, it is about the people that you are leading. If you don’t believe in and can’t be committed to them and their success, you are likely in the wrong job.
While this commitment is most directly about those who “report” to you, depending on your situation, the group of individuals you need to be committed to might be broader and larger than that. Due to your role, the organization has entrusted you to get a return on the investment made each day in your team. If you want to think about it transactionally, you are responsible for getting high productivity, quality, safety and more. More holistically, you are responsible for making these resources more valuable through their development, and growth.
This isn’t just sound-good, feel-good advice from me – there is an organizational responsibility to be a great steward of your human resources.
You can’t or won’t do any of these things nearly well enough unless your commitment to them and their success is high.
Commitment to Yourself
While leadership is about the organizational outcomes and other people’s, paradoxically you can’t leave yourself out of the equation.
If you want to serve the organization and your team, you must be committed to yourself too.
What do I mean?
Are you willing to invest of your time and energy to get better at the challenging role of leadership?
Are you willing to have the hard conversations?
Are you willing to let go of your ego enough to allow others to shine and succeed?
Done well, leadership is an act of selflessness, but as Oprah often told her viewers, you can’t serve others if you don’t take care of yourself too. Your commitment to yourself matters greatly, but only in the context of the other two commitments.
You might feel I have left other commitments out – and while I agree there may be many other things or people you might need to be committed to, my goal has been to highlight the most important and those that apply to you regardless of your industry, position or situation.
Work to build these three commitments and you will become a more successful, productive, satisfied and sought after leader – a leader others willing choose to follow.