Commanding Commitment

DSN9164-2-MI heard an interesting comment the other day.  It wasn’t really a comment it was a command.  The CEO of a company said; “We don’t just expect total commitment from our employees; we demand it.”  I’m sure many employees aren’t committed, even if they look like it.  That’s the interesting thing to me…  Leadership may demand total commitment, but I’ll bet with that attitude they get very little.

Total commitment must be inspired.  It cannot be commanded.  When a leader gives such a command it breeds resentment and frustration.  There’s nothing more annoying to most people than having something demanded of them, especially when it must be cultivated.  Demanding commitment is like ordering something at a restaurant: you may get what you ordered, but if you irritate the server, you may not.  Worse yet, you may get what appears to be your order, but with additional ingredients.

Leaders that demand commitment, or anything else, are asking for trouble.  They get what appears to be commitment, but it’s more like compromise.  Compromise can look like what the leadership ordered, but it has added ingredients; like resentment and sabotage.  I’m not talking about outright destruction, but about doing small things that violate the company.  Like little things that may go unnoticed at the moment, but show up later as diminished morale (or other problems).

Great leaders inspire commitment and cultivate it through setting their example of commitment and concern for the organization and especially its people.  Inspiration and cultivation are modeled through relationships.  Leaders can’t demand commitment.  Commitment is inspired and cultivated by great leaders who care.

Points to Ponder –

How do you see yourself, as demanding or inspiring? How do you think others see you?

What is the relationship between demanding and compromising?

Copyright 2013 LeadersBridge

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