Leadership Principle #1: Do What You Say You Will Do


by Cory Dobbs, Ed.D. 01-03-2012 11:44 PM

Imagine a world where all your friends, teammates, family members, educators, coaches, and those you encountered on a daily basis took full responsibility for their actions. In this imaginary world everyone you interacted with did what they said they would do. And people approached interpersonal interactions with a perspective of looking beyond personal goals to consider those of the team or the community. 

Trouble is, when it comes to answering for one’s word, many people see little value in honoring their word. Accountability entails taking ownership of one’s actions (which includes promises and commitments) or the expectation of one’s taking action and the consequences that arise from the action or inaction. By failing to honor our word we signal to others that we are unreliable and unpredictable.
 
The problem is that we live in an era where the definition of accountability has become murky and, for the most part, open to one’s personal definition and situational interpretation.
 
We often encounter issues of “accountability” within emotionally-charged interactions that involve blame, divisiveness, and hostility. Quality interpersonal relationships are essential to any cohesive team. And nothing destroys quality relationships more than losing confidence in the authenticity of someone’s promise or commitment.
 
The First Principle of Leadership is to simply Do What You Say You Will Do. Leadership accountability requires a level of ownership that involves making, keeping, and answering for personal commitments. Simply put, when you hold yourself accountable, those around you know you can be counted on to complete your responsibilities or follow through on your promises. When you do what you say you will do you build credibility. 
 
The fastest way to lose credibility with your teammates is to be viewed as someone who people can’t trust. Leadership experts James Kouzes and Barry Posner say that, “When it comes to deciding whether a leader is believable, people first listen to the words, then they watch their actions. They listen to the talk, and then they watch the walk.” The bottom line is when it comes to trusting you, you want your teammates to know you are a person of your word.
 
Honoring one’s word is a pathway to trust. The qualities of being honest, courageous, inspiring, and committed flow from holding yourself accountable and doing what you say you will do. As a team leader coaches and teammates have every right to expect you to be a person who embraces accountability. 
 
The first principle of leadership also holds that effective team leaders will hold teammates accountable to do what they say they will do. This includes the leadership role of handling interpersonal conflicts and influencing the shared values, beliefs, and desired patterns of behavior within your team. Do what you say you’ll do and hold teammates accountable to do what they said they’d do. Now that’s real leadership. 

Published 01-03-2012 © 2022 Access Athletes, LLC


Disclaimer:

Access Athletes, LLC owns the exclusive copyright to all information contained within the articles posted on The Real Athlete Blog. All information is for the End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed, or otherwise used for commercial purposes without the expressed consent of Access Athletes, LLC. The information is an educational aid only and it is not intended as and nor shall it be construed as legal, medical, financial, psychological or other professional advice or treatment for individual situations, conditions, or predicaments. The information provided in The Real Athlete Blog articles shall not constitute an attorney-client, doctor-patient, psychologist-patient relationship or any other professional-client relationship for that matter. The End User shall seek the advice or treatment of his or her own qualified licensed professional(s) and the End User shall not rely on the information contained herein as such. End Users who leave comments on the Blog articles or email the contributors personally shall have no expectation of privilege or confidentiality. Additionally, we strongly recommend that you consult your doctor, nurse, nutritionist or pharmacist before following any of our workout or nutrition regimens to ensure that it is safe and effective for you.

Access Athletes, LLC makes no representation or warranties as to the information, opinions, or other services or data you may access, download or use as a result of accessing The Real Athlete Blog. All implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose or use are hereby excluded. Access Athletes, LLC does not assume any responsibility for your use of or reliance on any of the information provided by The Real Athlete Blog.