Leaders Build Trust by Keeping Commitments

The Second Wave: Relationship Trust

Building the Wave of Relationship Trust requires deliberate trust-building behaviors.

There are five competence-based behaviors: delivering results, getting better, confronting reality, clarifying expectations, and staying accountable. We’ll also explore the “counterfeit” versions of these behaviors. A counterfeit behavior is one that looks like the trust-building behavior, but instead of building trust, this behavior is distorted into something that tears trust down.

This week: Keep Commitments

Say what you are going to do, then do what you say you’re going to do. Make commitments carefully, including implicit commitments, and keep them at all costs. Make keeping commitments a part of your personal honor. Avoiding trying to smooth talk your way out of commitments. Do not break confidences.

The opposite of Keeping Commitments is violating promises. Whereas violating promises can be rare, a common “counterfeit” is overpromising and underdelivering. Another aspect is being casual with your commitments. Casual commitments are ones which are vague and elusive, making wonder what it is exactly you’re promising; or being too afraid of breaking commitments that you don’t make any in the first place.

Integrity is part of the Group Dynamic Servant Leadership Model. We define integrity as holding yourself to high standards and doing what you say you will do. It’s tough to violate trust and easy to build a strong reputation when you put those together consistently.

What to do instead?

Say things like this to yourself:

  • Ten years from now, will I be glad I kept this commitment instead of that one?
  • Is this a commitment I really want to make?
  • Am I committed to follow through on this?

Say things like this to others:

  • I promise to…
  • You can count on me to…
  • This is my intent in making this commitment…
  • I promise to deliver by…
  • I’m willing to make this new commitment, but we already agreed on other priorities. Which of them should I postpone or cancel to take care of this?

Deliver what you promise. Keep Commitments to build trust.

Next week: Extend Trust.

Thanks for reading,

Alan Feirer

See more blog posts on The Speed of Trust.

#1: Leaders Invest in Trust
#2: Credibility Gaps: Leaders Know the Waves of Trust
#3: Behavior, Credibility, and the Wrong Kinds of Trust
#4: Leaders Know Credibility is Driven by Behavior
#5: Build Trust by Talking Straight
#6: Leaders Build Trust by Demonstrating Respect
#7: Leaders Build Trust by Creating Transparency
#8: Leaders Build Trust by Righting Wrongs
#9: Leaders Build Trust by Showing Loyalty
#10: Leaders Build Trust by Delivering Results
#11: Leaders Build Trust by Getting Better
#12: Leaders Build Trust by Confronting Reality
#13: Leaders Build Trust by Clarifying Expectations
#14: Leaders Build Trust by Practicing Accountability
#15: Leaders Build Trust by Listening First

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