5 Tips to Be Impeccable with Your Word

Pile of hands

How impeccable are you with your word?

Have you ever told your team that you were going to do something and then never actually got around to doing it?

Maybe you decided later on that something else was a higher priority.  Or perhaps it slipped your mind entirely.

5 Tips to Be Impeccable with Your Word

Either way, you didn’t get around to doing something that others were counting on you to do.

It happens.  I sure know that I’ve been guilty of this a few times in my own life.  I mean, after all, we’re human.

Even when we want to be impeccable with our word, life sometimes gets in the way.

I’ve seen this happen particularly often with well-intentioned leaders who truly value their team’s input. Maybe they do a brainstorming session about changes they want to implement in the team.  New projects they want to focus on.  Or changes to projects that are already underway.

You personally commit to undertaking some of the steps that are necessary for this change to occur.

And then… reality hits. 

You never actually end up getting around to doing those tasks.

Have you ever had an experience like this?

Your team has become all inspired at the idea that things will change and improve.  But then they feel disappointed and deflated when nothing moves forward.

I’ve seen this happen with team after team.  Even the best of leaders struggle to keep up with everything on their plate at times.  It most certainly doesn’t make them a bad person.  Or a bad leader.

But the problem is that when you tell someone that you’ll do something and then don’t, people slowly start to lose trust in you.  No matter how good of a leader you are.

5 Tips to Be Impeccable with Your Word

It doesn’t necessarily happen the first time that your not impeccable with your word.  But if this becomes a pattern of behaviour, your team will slowly start to lose trust in you.  And when people lose trust in you, they stop following your leadership.

It’s as simple as that.

So what can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen?

Be impeccable with your word.

Easier said than done right? 

Life happens and circumstances change.  You may truly want to do something one day and believe you have the time to commit to it, only to realize later on that you can’t give that commitment the time you had anticipated.

How can you be impeccable with your word so that your team will trust you, despite the ever-changing landscape of expectations and priorities?

1.  Recognize your own limits.

Before you commit to anything, ask yourself a few questions.  “Do I truly have time to commit to this right now?”.  “Is the proposed timeline reasonable for me?”.  Don’t just commit to requests instinctually.  Do it because you want to and can.

2.  Learn to prioritize.

Don’t choose priorities solely based on what others are asking you to do.  Reflect on everything that needs to be done.  Before you commit, ask yourself: “How high of a priority is this compared to my other current obligations?”.  Even if it’s something important to you, if your other priorities highly outweigh the current request, now may not be a good time to commit.

3.  Learn to disappoint others.

I know this sounds counter-intuitive.  But it’s better to disappoint others by letting them know upfront that you can’t commit to something than it is to disappoint them by accepting a commitment that you end up not keeping.  Direct and empathetic is kind.  Telling someone you can do something because you don’t want to let them down and then never doing it, or doing a rush job on it, is not. 

4.  Be transparent.

If you’ve committed to something, but then find that you aren’t able to give it the attention it needs, just be transparent.  It happens to all of us.  We’re human.  But the worst thing you could do in this scenario would be to just pretend that you’ve just forgotten that you made a commitment in hopes that no one else will remember.  Address the issue directly with whoever you’ve made the commitment with.  This is still being impeccable with your word, which will maintain trust.

5.  Be humble

If it happens that you do forget something you’ve committed to, just be humble about it.  Own the responsibility that is yours to own.  Apologize.  Not just one of those flippant apologies or one that tries to excuse it away, such as “I’m sorry, but I’ve been really busy and blah, blah, blah”.  Own it entirely.  Try something like “I know I’d told you I’d get that done for Friday.  It entirely slipped my mind.  I apologize.  I know you were counting on me.”

Remember that your team notices every single time you tell them you’re going to do something and you end up not delivering.  Being impeccable with your word is the best way to maintain the trust that is needed to lead a team to success.

If you liked this post, you might also like:

How to Improve Internal Communication During Times of Crisis

How NOT to Communicate Changes to Your Team

How to Reassure Your Employees by Being Transparent Instead of Using Fake Positivity

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette, M.Sc.(A) works with middle managers who want to communicate authentically so they can effectively lead their teams without losing themselves. As a former Speech-Language Pathologist, Lindsay applies her expertise in the neuroscience of communication and connection to help managers foster an environment of trust and respect in their teams, so that everyone can bring their best selves to work.

Lindsay’s approach has been profoundly influenced by her work with First Nations organizations, her experience as a parent to two neurodivergent children, and the premature loss of both of her parents. These experiences have taught Lindsay great lessons about the power of excellent people skills that extend well beyond her professional expertise.

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette, M.Sc.(A) works with middle managers who want to communicate authentically so they can effectively lead their teams without losing themselves. As a former Speech Language Pathologist, Lindsay applies her expertise in the neuroscience of communication and connection to help managers foster an environment of trust and respect in their teams, so that everyone can bring their best selves to work.

Lindsay’s approach has been profoundly influenced by her work with First Nations organizations, her experience as a parent to two children with pervasive mental health challenges, and the premature loss of both of her parents. These experiences have taught Lindsay great lessons about the power of excellent people skills that extend well beyond her professional expertise.

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Hi, I'm Lindsay

Leadership communication skills to elevate team performance.

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