Your integrity is an important part of your personal brand. Most leaders have the best of intentions when making commitments but may fail in the follow through due to unforeseen circumstances and or poor planning. In order to protect your reputation, it’s very important to be a person of your word, ensuring that others can count on you to do what you say you will. Here are three tips to help you make the right commitments and keep them.
Keep a calendar. People who consistently keep a calendar are much better at juggling their commitments, which helps ensure they don’t over commit. If your calendar is part of your everyday life, you will always know what you can commit to, and what you can’t.
Prioritize where you will donate your time. As a leader, you are likely asked frequently to give of your time. In order to avoid being spread too thin, it is important to know which organizations have highest priority on your list. This will make it easier for you to weed out the things you simply don’t have time for when life gets busy. If you have identified volunteering at your child’s school as a top priority, for example, you will know that during busy times of the school year, you are unable to take on additional volunteer activities. When things slow down, perhaps during summer vacation, you can take on volunteer work with another group.
Learn to say “no”. Many of us hate saying no, particularly to a good cause. But, it is better to say no upfront when you know your schedule doesn’t really allow the time to do what you’re asked than to back out at the last moment or do a poor job because you were out of time.
Communicate proactively. Let people know when you’ve run into an obstacle. For example, if you promised a customer an answer to his question today, but you still don’t have the answer, it’s critical to call him today anyway. Giving him the update that you are still waiting for an answer and giving him a new commitment for getting back to him will assure him that you are someone he can count on to do what you say.
Being a person others can count on is an important character trait. Your reputation and your personal brand depend upon your ability to keep your word consistently.