I’ve done a lot of training that focused on commitments--making them and keeping them. It’s something I talk to my kids about, the importance of trust, how easy it is to lose and how hard it is to regain. It’s still something I have to work on every day.
Now, I’m not saying I’m not trustworthy. Rather, I have to work to keep track of the commitments I make so that I can maintain the trust. It’s the little things that often get me. Two examples from today are forgetting something at the grocery store and not responding to an email on Friday when I said I would. Some might say these are not important, not reflective of trust, and yet they are commitments I made and did not keep. While my world may “forgive” these transgressions, it’s inevitable that the people I let down will be less likely to believe my commitment in the future.
It’s not just the big things (getting caught in a lie, operating unethically - as outlined in this article), that undermine trust.
Reliable leaders must remember to be straightforward, accountable, and flexible. The more your people can trust you regarding the little things, the more they will trust and follow you when it comes to the big things. Trust is everything, and being your word creates that trust.