9 Leadership behaviours that build commitment

We like to think we’re committed. That our team are committed.

People who are committed show up, follow through and stick with it. The more commitment you have, the greater productivity and momentum you can generate to get the job done and lead people through transition and change. Commitment means team strength.

That all sounds good in theory. But how do you gauge commitment in practical terms?

Team commitment is either building or decreasing

Jamie took a lot on, working consistently long hours and never switching off. While his team knew he cared about them, they believed he expected them to work like he did, where their commitment was shown by their willingness to always put work ahead of everything else. It wore thin. One of Jamie’s high performers left and someone else took extended time off for a health issue. Jamie never connected the dots to know he was the problem.

Commitment doesn’t happen through expectation

Expectations are often at the root of issues in relationships. Poor communication and unresolved conflict harms trust and commitment, especially when people don’t feel supported.

Although its invisible, commitment is a real quality you can do something about if you know how to grow it. Commitment grows when people:

  • Build effective and supportive relationships
  • Respect and appreciate one another (sameness and uniqueness)
  • Feel successful at what they do
  • Make good decisions together
  • Hold each other to high standards
  • Work through conflicts (positive conflict leads to better collaboration and results in a ‘speak up’ team environment)
  • Achieve victory and celebrate success
  • Learn from setbacks and stuff ups
  • See their leaders’ model resourceful commitment

People commit to something when they gain something meaningful from their involvement.

As a leader, commitment starts with you. Why are you committed to your project or organisation? What do you care about the most?

  •  The size of your contribution?
  • The people you work with?
  • The goals and what’s being achieved?
  • What you’re learning?
  • The satisfaction you get from doing a great job?
  • The role you have or the role of your group?
  • The length of time you’ve invested?

If you want your team to be committed and bring their best game, be clear about what you’re offering each of your team members and why that matters to them. People have to know what they are committing to and what success looks like.

Give everyone the opportunity to be inspired and become a part of something that matters. Because really, no matter what we do, we all want to feel like we’re contributing to something meaningful. And that something may just look a little different to me than it does to you. Simon Sinek.

Bringing it all together

Commitment is contagious. As the leader, people will always look to you first to see how committed you are and how much you care. Your capacity to care shows in your attitude and actions. Every single day. If people know they can count on you, then you’ll reap the rewards of their loyalty. Remember though, hours worked is not a reflection of commitment – that’s just an unrealistic burden (for you and your team). More than anything people want to see you being kind – because it shows you care. Commitment, trust and genuine care go hand in hand.

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