On Leadership and True Commitment


I spent the last three days in an intensive training session on change management.  I had returned home from visiting Los Angeles no less than 2 days before the training started.  As you can imagine, I was still operating on LA time.

I’m embarrassed to say that an overload of caffeine and sugar was needed to successfully carry me through the three days.

On Leadership and Training

Much of the training time was spent working on applied exercises.  As I worked intensely on the different assessments, the trainer would say “times up” before my work was completed.

Invariably, I would look up and say, “But I’m not done yet!

She would smile and say that she knew I wasn’t done but we needed to move on.  I fought with myself to let go of each exercise and move on physically and emotionally to the next.

This experience happened time and time again over the next three days— I would struggle to let go of my unfinished product and move on to the next piece of learning.  I understood on an intellectual level that we weren’t meant to finish each piece, but I struggled nonetheless.

Taking on Commitment

As I look back on that experience now, I can better understand why this experience was so difficult for me.  I realize that I’m a person that takes commitment very seriously.  When I start something, I make an internal commitment to finish.

I tend to think of it like this:

Individual commitment to a group effort— that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” ~Vince Lombardi

This is deeply rooted in my childhood, where it was consistently taught that you should see every task through to its conclusion. It’s such an internalized response and habit that it took some time for me to place why I was so agitated.

On Individual Values

Now, I’m well aware that not everyone in life has the same values surrounding commitment.  I’ve come across numerous people in the workplace that talk a good talk, but have difficulty in the actionable delivery.

Does this sound familiar?  I’m sure you’ve come across one or two of these individuals in your career or personal life.

Someone had some good excuse why they weren’t able to complete the task. For the rest of the group, this behavior was probably quite frustrating.

A Culture Killer

If you’ve encountered this behavior in a leader, you know how destructive it can be to the workplace culture.  If the leader is great on making promises, but lacks in delivering on said promises, trust is lost. 

Commitment is a highly valued commodity for someone leading your organization, community and world.

We all know that humans aren’t perfect. Now and then, I too fall short in my pledge to people. However, the first step to becoming more consistent is awareness. Take a long lens view of your behavior in the commitment department.

Rethinking Your Trust Commitment

Rethink whether you have some habits that might be hindering others’ belief and trust in you. More importantly, assess whether you might be hindering YOUR belief and trust in YOU. Commitment is an essential piece of possessing RESILIENCE in life.

I don’t give up on commitments until what I’ve been asked to do is clearly finished.” ~ Carly Fiorina

Maybe you had this experience in a group project at work.  You split up the responsibilities for each member of your group, and then counted on each person to do their share.

You EXPECTED each member to work with the same integrity and values that you do.  You assumed that this would happen. However, someone didn’t follow through.

Have you had an experience in the workplace where someone failed to follow through? How did you handle the situation and would you have changed anything? Are there ways that you can improve in your own follow through? What’s your plan to accomplish this?


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Shari Goldsmith

Shari Goldsmith LISW is Founder of Workplace Resilience
She empowers organizations to Embrace CHANGE and Develop Resilience
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Skype: sharigoldsmith

Image Source: hischarisisenough.files.wordpress.com

L2L Contributing Author


  1. Jim Trunick on December 30, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Shari, great perspective, and I find myself thinking about commitment through your lens. What if in your example of completing a training exercise you were the last one and only one requiring more time. Just a what if. Then your value of commitment may collide with your other value of “relationships” if others are made to wait – particularly on a minor task, less a major project at work. I’ve known those that are so fastidious about details that projects and friendships were compromised and others whose commitment was so low, we didnt effectively achieve our goal.

    Values collide even inside ourselves. Benefits-to-risk it seems to knowing what our real goal is, and ensuring commitment and communication to that end.

    Thanks for the discussion Shari

  2. ramakrishnan6002 on December 30, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Gr8fullsoul.

  3. pioneer513 on January 9, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    I do like you questions at the end, although i find the page a bit busy with stuff that takes attention away from your writing.
    I have just written a blog recently called “Less than Human”, where, although I tried very hard in the situation, I can see where I could have been more effective in hindsight.