Have you ever watched a truly great athlete swing a bat, complete a pass, or sink a sweet jumper? If so, you’ll notice they all have one thing in common: a strong follow-through.
The same is true in business. You won’t be successful by committing halfway.
No matter how big, talented, or dedicated your team is, they will eventually lose faith in your leadership if you don’t come through when they need you.
Trust takes time to earn, but it can break down alarmingly fast. Here are three ways to make sure your lack of follow-through isn’t hurting your credibility, your team, or your organization.
1.) Do what you say
Remember that time your dad said he’d take you for ice cream if you cleaned your room, but then he messed around in the garage until it was too late to go? Of course you do! Pops may have long since forgotten, but to 5-year-old you, this was pretty traumatic.
The same is true for your staff. Something that may seem inconsequential to management could be a big deal for employees. If you need a demonstration of this concept, try explaining how “The ice cream will still be there tomorrow…” to a disappointed toddler. Be prepared, though. You may need some earplugs.
Long story short: Don’t make promises you can’t keep. And when you do make a promise, be sure to hold up your end of the deal.
2.) Listen and respond
Few things are more maddening than screaming into a void, and few things are more demoralizing than feeling unseen or unheard. Not responding to emails, phone calls, tasks and requests is equivalent to saying, “I don’t care about you or your needs.”
Perhaps this isn’t your intent at all. Maybe you’re just consumed with other things, or you don’t have a good answer yet. That’s okay. A quick response to acknowledge the person and set expectations for what comes next is usually all that’s needed to keep the peace. For a while, anyway. If you use this tactic too often without ever providing real answers or solutions, your team will feel even more unheard. Because now they know that you are aware of the issue, but choosing not to address it.
Yes, being a leader means you’re busy. But it also means you have the power to delegate. If you don’t have time to handle a particular employee or customer issue yourself, get someone else on it. And make sure they follow up with you regarding how and when it’s been resolved.
3.) Be reliable and consistent
Timely follow-through isn’t always foolproof. No matter how quickly you respond, if you handle the same situation a different way each time, you’re going to drive everyone crazy. Including yourself.
Inconsistency breeds fear and resentment, both of which lead to inaction. The quickest way to paralyze your team is by being scary and unpredictable. And a team that’s afraid to do anything isn’t going to be very productive or innovative.
Develop organizational standards, processes, and policies that are in line with your company values. Then apply and enforce those things evenly and consistently. Doing so will make it much easier for you to be the strong, consistent leader you aspire to be— and the one your employees aspire to work for.
Think all insurance consultants are the same? You haven’t worked with Combined, Inc. Our goal is to take your business where you want it to go. Is your broker thinking outside the benefits box? Get in touch with Combined, Inc. to see how we can help your organization become a greater Los Angeles employer of choice. CONTACT US