Whether you call it being accountable or being responsible, doing what you say you are going to do is critical in being an influencer of people. But why does it seem to be so hard for some to do what they say they are going to do, while others make it seem easy and are seen as being more dependable or shall I even say, trustworthy?
Part of it starts with wanting to be what I call “pleasers”. You know the type. The person that never wants to say “no”. The person that overcommits. Even though in the back of their minds they are saying to themselves, “How am I going to pull this one off?”. Unfortunately, many of us are this type!
Another part of what makes doing what you say you are going to do more difficult is that you overestimate your ability to accomplish everything! I see this many times with new supervisors. When they are promoted, not only do they get the supervisor or manager title, but many think they get the “super cape” that goes with it, giving them the superpower to accomplish the impossible. Unfortunately, wanting to do something, and having the time, experience, and resources to do it is totally different.
When it comes to doing what you say you are going to do, a couple of strategies emerge.
Strategy 1 – All In: These are the individuals we’ve described above that are “all in”, no matter what the situation or the cost. This unfortunately leads to over promising and under-delivering in many cases.
Strategy 2 – All Out: These are the individuals that won’t commit for fear of failing. The philosophy is to aim low, get lucky, exceed expectations, and be seen as a hero. This is often termed under-promising and over-delivering.
I advocate a third strategy that is simple and will help you be seen as a more trustworthy, influential leader.
Strategy 3 – Realist: These are individuals that look at what needs to be done and then looks realistically and what they are able to do. They don’t over-promise, they don’t under-promise, they methodically look at what they can realistic accomplish and commit to it. As they work through the situation or task they “own” their commitment, they “act” on it and they “answer” for it. This is simple in concept, but requires a commitment by you as an individual to follow through and be accountable.
The payoff is clear. Better relationships, less stress, increased productivity, and being a trusted, influencer of others.