Commitment is never “I’ll try.”
The first C of leadership must be in place before any other leadership quality can be effective. Without commitment there is no trust. How do you feel when someone promises to take care of something and then fails to follow through? When you are counting on someone to keep their commitment and they don’t, it is extremely disappointing. Moving forward we are hesitant to trust them. Most people usually intend on keeping their word, but then something comes up and they get distracted on the other priorities, and the unintended consequences is the person you committed to feels they are not important to you and trust breaks down. Cancelling scheduled meetings, not following through, making excuses, delaying reviews are all perceived by others as breaking a commitment…and trust breaks down and can often go away. Once that occurs, the team unity goes away as well because people feel they are not valued.
Promises made, promises kept…that’s commitment!
The second C – convicted.
This one is an extension of January’s blog on Grit. It is determination, perseverance, a belief so strong you will never give up. It is the will to something against all odds. The reason so many New Years’ Resolutions don’t last is they become a wish list…my resolution is to begin working out…I hope I lose weight. Hope is a wish. Not a conviction. If I am truly convicted about losing weight, I will set specific targets and commit to working out 5 days a week and eat more veggies, etc. I will have the determination and will-power to keep going, even when I don’t feel like it or when a chocolate cake is trying to entice me…Now that’s conviction!
Courage is the final C.
Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady was shot down over Bosnia in 1995 after flying over hostile territory without authorization in order to take pictures and confirm to the world the massacres that were taking place. The 29-year-old pilot had been missing in Serbia for five days with meager rations of food and water. O’Grady slept by day, covering himself with camouflage netting, and moved only between midnight and 4 a.m. Armed
Serbs were never far away, and he often heard gunfire. Scott O’Grady risked his own life to prove to the world that the Serbs were executing massive numbers of people within their own country. The world was not paying attention to what was happening in Serbia until O’Grady proved the mass bloodshed. The rest of the world then united to stop the killing. As leaders we have to have the courage to stand up for what is right, to make ethical decisions, to make the tough decisions, and to sometimes go against the grain and try something new. Scott O’Grady was courageous. He was willing to put his own life at risk in order to save people he did not even know by being their voice of truth and freedom.
Leaders are committed, convicted and courageous. If I added a fourth C to this mix, it would be Character because the first three reveal character. Are you willing to have that kind of character?