Trust and credibility are two of the most important things a leader must cultivate from their team. While there are several ways you can go about obtaining their trust, one of the best ways is by following through on what you said you would do. Without follow through, your team will doubt your ability to lead, and will have little confidence is what you say.
As a leader, if you there was a person in your business that habitually did not complete tasks, despite promising you they would, you would lose all confidence in that individual. It is important to understand that this works both ways. If you do not follow through on the things you promised you would do, your team will lose all confidence in you. This will result in a serious lack of engagement from your people, and it is a certainty that no one will do more than the bare minimum required to keep their job. The end result is a culture that is toxic result, new hires learn bad habits, and the cycle perpetuates itself. All of this from simply not following through.
So, whose responsibility is it? The short answer is, it is everyone’s responsibility. The longer answer is that the example should be, first and foremost, set by the leadership. If you are a manager, or the owner of a business, then this means you. After all, you cannot ask from your team that which you are unwilling to do yourself, right? The atmosphere and culture of a business will take on the personality of those who I lead it. So if you, as a leader, are in the habit of not following through on tasks, the people you lead will follow your example. However, if you are in the habit of following through then your team will do the same, and when new people are hired they will adapt to that culture.
Owners of businesses, or their managers, often have great ideas on how to improve their business, but those ideas are useless if they are not executed. In fact, expressing such ideas, and then not following through on them, will do more damage to your business than if you had never mentioned them in the first place.
Here’s the bottom line: If you want your staff to be engaged and take initiative, then you must do the same. If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you are unable to do it, inform your staff of the reason why immediately. There is little that will earn you the respect of your team quicker than transparency. If you make a mistake, own it and then fix it. If you make a promise, keep it.
By following through, you will build a foundation of trust and on that foundation you can build a team that is engaged, energized, takes initiative, and will grow the business.
When there is follow through, everyone wins.