We have recently discussed “commitments” in the frame of mind of maintaining commitments that one has made. When applying the idea of commitment to the characteristics of a good leader, it takes on a different meaning. While a leader should still keep the commitments that he or she has made, there are other implications of commitment that affect leadership.
One of the biggest challenges of leadership is committing to maintaining company values and a positive attitude, even when things are not going your way. In times of high pressure or hardship at a company, people will look to the leadership for guidance. Those situations call for leaders to be positive, encouraging, and optimistic. This is not always an easy task, especially if the hardship directly impacts the leader.
Think about scenarios in which companies experience a crisis. This might be a major recall for a food brand, a controversial story coming out about a major investor of a particular company, or something even more serious like a plane crash or train accident that causes fatalities. In times of crisis, it is easy to fall into patterns of negativity and commiserate with employees in a way that is not productive. Although this is the easier thing to do, it is not appropriate. Leaders must maintain an optimistic outlook to give employees hope.
Similar commitment is needed from leaders when an unpopular decision is made by their employer. Many times, decisions will be made that not everyone will like. It is the responsibility of the leader to understand that the decision was the best possible choice, even if some people do not agree, and commit to speaking positively about the decision to maintain company loyalty. This action will not only diffuse some of the negative opinions, it will reinforce to your boss that you stand by the decisions made by the company.
It is hard to commit to optimism when everyone else is being pessimistic, but ultimately that is the responsibility of the leader. When everyone else commiserates, you must maintain a good attitude and uphold your company’s standards and values. There are certain aspects of leadership that are more challenging than others. I would consider this to be one of the most challenging responsibilities of a leader because the commitment must be maintained regardless of the state of mind or emotion. This is not necessarily a trait that comes naturally. As humans, we desire to be like those around us. Future leaders, take the time to practice and develop this skill. It is a great way to see advancement in your career, and it is an important part of being a good leader.