Nine 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 momentum you can generate to get the job done. Commitment means team strength.

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

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 at the same pace and hours. That 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.

Unresolved conflicts harm commitment – when communication is poor and where people don’t feel supported – especially when the boss is at cause. Commitment doesn’t happen through expectation.

Although it’s 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
  • 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 important from their involvement.

As a leader, commitment starts with you. Why are you committed to your project or organisation? What are you connected into? What is most important to you?:

  • The goals and what’s being achieved?
  • The vision of what’s possible?
  • The people who you work with?
  • The size of your contribution?
  • 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 and why that matters to them. People have to know what they are committing to.

Bringing it all together

Commitment is contagious. As the leader, people will always look to you first to see how committed you are. Your capacity to care will show in your attitude and actions. 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 and generous – because it shows you care. Commitment and genuine care go hand in hand.

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