“Be true to your work, your word, and your friends.”
~Henry David Thoreau~
Have you ever asked a friend for help, had them commit, and then at the last minute make an excuse for not showing up, or maybe a friend asked you for a favor and then took advantage of your time and willingness to help? Either way, how did it make you feel? What were your thoughts about your friend? My guess is you were probably frustrated, irritated maybe, or annoyed in some way because you were let down or taken advantage of. Whatever it might have been, my guess is you either learned not to ask that friend for help or you were more likely to say “No” the next time your friend asked you for some favor. Bottom line, a person who does not keep their word is someone who is not respected or trusted.
Right now, we are in the midst of an utter disaster with the administration of the United States. President Biden made the choice to pull troops out of Afghanistan. This has turned into absolute chaos, danger, and loss of life. However, it wasn’t just Biden’s fault. Military leadership stationed in Afghanistan were also to blame. Even though there were many problems that led to the debacle, one thing can be found true…we did not stand by our word to protect and ensure the safety of the citizens of Afghanistan from the horrific and terrible acts of the Taliban. Instead, we pulled out and let chaos ensue. Now, the Taliban is destroying the lives of men, women, and children all in the name of religious and political fanaticism. Now, we have lost respect and trust from the people who depended on us.
Respect is not given; it is earned. Respect is earned when we stay true to our word and make whatever sacrifices that need to be made to live up to our word. Respect is something that cannot be forced. Respect must be given if you want it in return. In fact, when you are a leader and expect respect from your team, you will likely find yourself alone with little to no respect. Demanding something from others doesn’t really go well from the person doing the demanding. Respect must be earned, and it usually takes time. When you give little encouragement and do more berating, you will lose respect from your team. When you give meaningless feedback and expect people to just “know” what needs to change, you will lose respect. However, one of the quickest ways to lose respect from your team is to speak out of both sides of your mouth. If you want respect from your team, then you must be a man or woman of your word. Don’t blow smoke. Don’t sugar coat things. Be honest, real, and transparent; and do all of this with humility and compassion.
Just like respect, trust is a quality that must be earned. If you don’t have your team’s respect, you probably don’t have their trust either. Trust must also be given in order to be trusted in return. And if you think your team can’t see through your B.S., you are a fool. Trust is not earned by saying, “Don’t worry. You can trust me.” Trust is something that must be proven. This comes by doing what you say you will do. It happens when your team knows that when you say something, you will follow through. You will show up and give 100% every time. When you say you will do whatever it takes to get your team what they need, then you won’t quit until your team has what they need. You will make the sacrifices to show your team that what you say is true and prove it through your actions. Truth comes from being a man or woman of our word.
Talk is cheap. Don’t be a cheap leader. Lead with integrity and do what you say you will do. If you can’t follow through, then be transparent and honest. Don’t make excuses, take responsibility. Humility will earn you more respect than trying to backpedal or push blame. In the end, “Be true to your work, your word, and your friends (team).”
As always, stay humble and always serve!