Walking the Talk

Stop ‘saying’ or start ‘doing’!

Is there anything that annoys employees more than a manager who lacks follow-through? Particularly when an employee has made an investment in the design and shaping of something – only to find that nothing happens.

I have lost count of how many ?team development days? I?ve attended where excitement is generated, ideas are created, actions documented and, then?nothing happens?zero, nil, zip?

I get frustrated just thinking about it…particularly when I consider what I could have been doing with the time I spent away from my own team. That initial feeling of excitement then turns to disappointment and often disengagement!

Walking the talk or following through is broader than just team offsites and development activities; it also includes seeking employee feedback or simply making a commitment to do something for someone.

One Full Circle Feedback study found that follow-up actions are crucial to the success of a business. If they are not conducted, ?staff members will feel as if their opinion is not valued, become unmotivated, and lapse back into old behaviors?. This can lead to a decline in productivity, performance and team morale. Additionally, it is a loss in investment. Think of the time, money and energy taken to gather information that then sits on a shelf to gather dust.

?Doing what you say you?re going to do, because you said you would, is a pretty simple definition of integrity??~ Nate Zinn

So what is it that prevents managers from following through? Perhaps we underestimate its impact or maybe it has to do with motivation. A recent HBR article suggests it is more to do with creating a habit. They see motivation as being ?in the mind? where as follow-through is ?in the practice?.

Whatever the reason, here are a few points to consider before committing:

  • Recognise the importance of what you?re signing up for (in terms of engagement and building your brand)
  • Make the commitment and hold yourself accountable (ask others to hold you accountable also)
  • Be realistic about what you can do and what might need to wait (don?t be afraid to say ?no? if you don?t have the capacity)
  • Be aware of the ?exit? clause you use to avoid following-through (e.g. ?something more important came up?, ?I ran out of time?, etc)
?As a leader, it?s really easy to tell your team what they want to hear but ?saying? alone won?t improve culture.?

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