What does this definition describe? “The attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something”. If you guessed commitment you were correct. Commitment is the difference between surviving and succeeding in your leadership. It is also the difference between surviving or succeeding for your organization. It is a really big deal.
Commitment starts on a personal level. What, and to whom, are you committed? If you cannot answer this question then you are not ready to lead. You must get your personal level commitments settled before you can lead others. For me my commitments start with my commitment to Jesus Christ, then to my wife and family, then to my role as a pastor. I am also committed to being a productive, impactful citizen in my community and the world. There are many sub-categories connected to each of these commitments, but I will leave that for my book. (By the way, leaving things for my book is a common refrain for me. But, who knows maybe I really will write one someday soon.)
Commitment must be tangible. Your commitment cannot be “in name only”. If those around you sense that you are only committed in word, but not in your actions, they will only follow from a distance. They will not follow closely, or with any impact if there is no evidence of your commitment. Understand that living your commitment may not please everyone in your organization, but your commitment must be able to be seen to be followed. If you just try to rally the troops but not lead the troops the troops will accomplish very little. You must be able to put your commitment into words, but if that is where you stop then those around you will stop at your words as well. Live out your commitments.
Commitment must move beyond self-serving. If you are only committed to the betterment of yourself then don’t expect anyone around to follow unless is serves them well. Leadership that makes an impact must not be selfish. Take a look at my post Guranteed Impact through Leadership (continued) #3 and particularly the point about courage showing when the leader makes decisions based on what is best for the organization and the people of the organization not just what makes him/her look best.
Commitment involves believing in your people. No one will accept your statement of commitment to them unless they first know that you believe in them. It is critical to communicate to the people around you that you believe in them, as persons, as important contributors to the organization and that you believe in them for the future. This belief in your people will give them courage to follow, to commit to the organization and to commit to you as their leader.
Commitment is a really big word, but it is an even bigger part of making an impact. So, figure out what you are committed to personally before you make another move in your organization. Then begin to communicate your commitment. Then be sure to live these commitments. At that point you will begin to see some real impact.