Great leaders work hard to adhere to rules of honesty and integrity. A person agreeing to adhere to verbal commitments should follow through to ensure being honest with self and others. General perceptions of honesty and integrity arise from the way we treat others; this should be with honesty and respect. Committing to pay a debt can be a verbal commitment, but it is also can be a contractual agreement. Legal actions may arise by failing to adhere to a contract. Failing to perform commitments where a written contract does not exist, may or may not have a legal route to correct the default. However, the failure to adhere to a promise is viewed as dishonest and leaves others with a negative view of that individual.
People generally shy away from interacting with those perceived as dishonest. Failure to adhere to a commitment causes people to doubt your values and they may consider you as dishonorable and untrustworthy. Such is the case of some political figures that make commitments. Many political figures are business managers that pursue politics on a local level. Occasionally, the politics overcomes their business integrity and they make commitments and fail to keep them. This failure creates lack of trust whether you are in business or politics.
Take for example a recent situation where promises were made to a military veteran that was also an elected to public office. The veteran received verbal agreements from others holding similar positions in a local government. The veteran knew a limited time remained prior to this end of life. Speaking with other leaders, the veteran believed a commitment was made to place his choice in the elected seat until the next elections. After passing away, the other officials decided to not honor what was believed to be a commitment by the veteran. In a different situation, an executive promised to raise a salary and prepare a new employment agreement following a certain transaction. The promises were ignored after the transaction was completed. Business leaders and political figures often change their minds. Regardless of the reasons, it is important to remember that honoring commitments is essential to business and politics.
There may be numerous reasons for failing to keep a commitment and they may even be valid and sound reasons. The problem arises because the failure to adhere to a promise makes one look dishonest. Unfortunately, many times the actions are dishonest or misleading. It is easy to forget the meaning of honesty and integrity and act in a manner not becoming of a true leader. We are judged by the perceptions of others. Honesty and integrity are an integral part of the perceptions. Negative feelings emerge regarding the trustworthiness of a business manager or political figure that fails to adhere to commitments. It is important business leaders and executives have the trust of coworkers, investors, partners, and collaborators. In short, if you make commitments, try to keep them. Do not make commitments, if you are in doubt!
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