Great Leaders Deliver on Their Promises

The best leaders can build strategies that deliver a compelling promise to everyone in the organisation. Here is how you can start doing that.


Tavian jean-pierre

2 years ago | 5 min read

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash
Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

Not too long ago, I wrote an article concerning where confidence comes from. From that short article, I concluded that confidence is the number of times we keep our own promises.

We all know that person who says they will do something but never gets around to it. Also, the individual who sets new years resolutions but never keeps them.

When we can not keep our promises to ourselves, how do we expect to show up for others? Leadership is all about showing up for the team and making the right decisions.

Whether we like it or not, people hold us accountable for the decisions we make, and we ought to do the same. Great leaders understand that keeping promises to themselves is vital for their self-confidence. Yet, it is also essential to deliver on the promises you make to others.

I have found that the motivation to lead tends to be setting the strategy you want to see in the company. Once in a leadership role, you have the power to shape the company the way you want to.

You will find that many leaders today still have a hierarchical mindset. Meaning that the top set the strategy, and the bottom go out and do it like their minions.

But, I would like to argue that this is the wrong view to have. If you seek to be a great leader, I am sure you desire to build sustainable and strong organisations. Although it feels nice to be at the top telling people what to do, great leaders do not gain confidence in this way.

When we focus on setting strategies from the top, we create an organisation of low confidence. However, when we focus on the promises we make, we build an organisation of trust. As a leader, your starting point must be the promises you make to your team.

Strategy Does Not Come From the Top, Promises Do

It is common for people to start with a hierarchical model. After all, they are the manager, so they have to be at the top.

But when leaders take a top-down approach, they forget people understand what the bottom is. And knowing you are at the bottom of an organisation is never a nice feeling.

Yes, you can be encouraged to do personal development or be told your turn will come, but it never feels good. You know that you are there to complete the task given to you whilst those above you do more interesting jobs.

When you take this approach, think about the promises you are making to those at the bottom. Are you giving them any hope to be part of something bigger than their day job? Are you making them feel valued and part of the companies success?

It is vital to understand that strategies can come from anywhere in the organisation. After working for a huge firm, I have found every department have their strategies. Some are even in competition with one another.

People make up their own strategies and try to shift the business and their day job the way they want to. Leaders can not think that outlining one strategy is enough to fit everyone.

Strategies do not come from the top, the same way great ideas do not either. What comes from the top are promises. They may come in the form of strategies or company values, but they are all translated to promises.

That is one reason why companies struggle to hold on to their brightest talents. Leaders layout plans that promise no room for change and thinking differently.

It is vital leaders understand that every action they take is a promise being given or delivered. Your team listen to the promises you make through the task you give and strategies install.

So, step 1 to delivering on your promises is understanding that each action you take is a promise. That way, you will focus less on the business result and more on the message it is sending to your team.

Confusion Leads to a Lack of Confidence

Working in a large organisation has taught me that confusion is common. As a business strategist, I have found a lot of people making decisions off their gut. People at the bottom of organisations tend to be confused about the best path to take for themselves.

As a leader, it is easy to set a strategy for the company and let it sift down to the bottom. But, leaders often forget that horizontal alignment is necessary too.

Top-down organisations tend to build a false sense of confidence. The leaders are at the top, so they feel assured they must know what they are doing. And people at the bottom listen to what those at the top are telling them.

However, when it comes to horizontal alignment, they tend to be all over the place. Leaders of departments are all doing different things, and teams are all over the place. Unfortunately, this leads to a tonne of confusion and a lack of confidence in those at the top.

If leaders went to the bottom of their organisations, I wonder if they would be happy? I have a feeling many would be confused themselves and would not be so confident after all.

Great leaders understand that it is not just a top-down approach. It is a left-right approach too. Meaning everyone has to be involved in the strategies that are implemented.

So step 2 to delivering on your promises is taking a cross approach to your strategy development. Ensure that you are aligning upwards and sideways so that your promises are clear.

Where a Great Leaders Confidence Comes From

As leaders, we ought to understand that an organisation is not a hierarchical system. People do look to us to make decisions, but that does not mean we are more confident.

Leaders can be less competent than those in their team and still have higher confidence. Great leaders build confidence because they understand that an organisation is a network of promises.

Our job is to ensure that the promises we want to make to others align with the actions and strategies we carry out. Once we do this, you will find that your team will know what you want and will be more confident in your decisions.

Change your mindset from seeing your role as delivering on results. Instead, see it as a way to deliver on your promises. When you see it like this, your confidence in your team and yourself will increase.

So, confidence comes from your ability to deliver on your promises. Understanding that everything you do is a promise to your team, you become a well-trusted leader. In turn, you will believe in yourself more.


Created by

Tavian jean-pierre

I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.







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