Promise Only What You Can Deliver

Promise only what you can deliver. Then deliver more than you promise. ~Author Unknown

One of the hardest aspects of being a leader is meeting expectations. As you well know, your team expects a great deal from you as their manager. They come to you for direction, performance reviews and relationship issues with colleagues. These are just the things that they request aloud!

What you may not realize is in addition to those verbal and explicit promises you make, like setting goals for projects or company growth, there are also implicit promises your team expects without you ever saying a word. These promises can be a little trickier to define, but they’re a big reason why some leaders are successful, and some aren’t.

Consider these goals and promises as the “elephant in the room.” All your team members know these promises exist, even if they never say so. They’ll notice if you do not live up them. No pressure, right?!

So what do you need to be aware of? What is your team quietly expecting? Primarily, you’ll want to keep your attention on these lesser-seen factors. They play a huge role in how your team perceives your leadership abilities.

Be Fair

If you are giving one team member excess leeway, your other team members are going to notice. You may unintentionally give Michelle an extension on his deadline, but don’t do the same for Chris. Your employees will talk about it at the water cooler!

To be a good leader, you have to be fair and consistent with all your employees. For example, if you have one team member who requests much more time off than the others, and you always give in, the rest of the staff could interpret it as favoritism.

Make sure your actions are the same for everyone on your team to ensure that no one feels left out. If you feel like you are being fair, but have received feedback otherwise, talk to a colleague you trust. They can offer a different perspective.

Build Trust

Ever hear the old saying, “Do what you say, and say what you do?” This phrase is especially key for leaders.

There is nothing harder to repair than broken trust, so be sure and live up to all of your goals and declarative statements whether they’re spoken or not. Once you slip and don’t follow through on something you promised, your team notices.


Because it creates a little seed of doubt there may be other areas where you might not keep your word. So to maintain the trust bond, never overpromise, and always back up your goals and directions with clear action.

Create Meaningful Work

Team members go to a job for the paycheck, but they stay for the feeling of accomplishment, and the idea that they are, in fact, contributing to the company or organization.

Everyone wants their work to mean something, and employees expect their contributions to be valued and purposeful. Make sure your team members have key roles that play into their skill sets to ensure they are consistently happy with the job.

Above all else, pay attention to all your senses to ensure your implicit promises are being met. Employees and team members may not always vocalize unhappiness, so it’s up to you to gauge the mood of each staff member, as well as the overall team.

By heading off any potential issues before they become problems, you’ll be keeping your biggest implicit promise of being a steady and continually good leader.

Is your organization struggling, due to trust issues or maybe your members have lost their trust in each other?

WINology Performance Group can help! We will teach your members how to trust again. Contact us today to learn more or visit us online!

Have you ever lost trust in your supervisor? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image quote attribution: Zig Ziglar

Article Name
Promise Only What You Can Deliver
One of the hardest aspects of being a leader is meeting expectations. What you may not realize is in addition to those verbal and explicit promises you make, there are also implicit promises your team expects without you ever saying a word.