An online dictionary I checked out has no less than seven (7) different definitions for commitment, all the way from …“The act or an instance of committing, putting in charge, keeping, or trust….” to “the act of being locked away, or the act of perpetration in a negative manner such as a crime.” As equally interesting are the synonyms they list, such as allegiance, dedication, duty, loyalty, obligation and vow. Now I am sure we have discussed commitment in this forum before but I am going to try a different spin on it. Please be patient. I would like to discuss what is a more important commitment, the leader to the team, or the team to the leader?
I know this sounds a little strange, everyone would say “Isn’t it inherent that all Leaders are committed to their cause?” I would say, not always. Lets spend a minute discussing commitment and how it pertains to leadership. I would say most people focus only on one side of the leadership equation, what is important to the team. They pose questions to themselves, such as “What’s the minimum I must do to satisfy my commitment?” I propose a committed leader needs to focus more on the other side of the equation, themselves. They need to think about “What can I do to make the most of this opportunity?, How can I leverage my position to make a positive impact?” After all who are you really committed to? Your followers right? Now many of you know my background is the military, so commitment means something special to me, I was committed to a team, a special team, a team of men who would stop at nothing to “solve a problem”. I propose that commitment means something different to different people, but I also propose nothing great can be accomplished without commitment.
I would argue that being a committed follower may be harder than being a committed leader. I say that because a follower doesn’t always know the whole picture, a follower doesn’t always know the end game. He knows what is required of him or her, and knows the best way to accomplish the goal. I think being a committed follower, or team member, means being whole heartedly engaged in all aspects of the team.
So leaders, be committed to your team, look into your heart and figure out what your team needs. Followers, team mates, be committed to each other and your leader, keep your eyes up and your feet on the ground. Be prepared to carry a team mate, be prepared to support your leader, stay focused on your tasks.
What is your life committed to, I challenge you to ask your wives, husbands, kids and friends, what they think about your commitment.