There have been several articles written this week about the incredible 5000-1 odds on Leicester City winning the Premiership. Interest is high on the many reasons for their success including their sense of team, their self-belief and determination. I would also like to add another – their commitment. The team members committed to their purpose and to each other.
Manager Claudio Ranieri, previously known as the ‘Tinkerman’ for his persistent tweaking to his previous team’s line up, adopted a new strategy with his team at Leicester. Once he found his team, he stuck with it and committed to a settled side.
The point here is the commitment was made and followed through by both the Manager and the team proving that being committed is critical to being successful whether it is to win the Premiership or leading people and projects.
This leadership quality is talked about very well by Simon Sinek, author of the powerful concept “Start With Why” and book, “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” which delves into the motives of a person to do or say anything.
Sinek also introduced the concept of the ‘golden circle” which is about human motivation which is anchored by a person’s commitment. As a leader your commitment should go beyond your personal goals. When you are committed to the success of others, you collectively help everyone involved in succeeding – and this will bode well for your business, project, or cause because everyone will come together and believe in a common objective.
The 3 qualities to being committed
To be committed, developing these 3 qualities is key: awareness, straightforward clarity, and a sense of community.
Great leaders will always want to know the people who work for them. They make it a point to be aware of their circumstances. It isn’t a one-sided affair justified because you pay them a salary. A good leader never uses salary as the key to motivating others. It almost never is able to sustain itself because money will never be enough. You keep your team together and supporting you by being aware of what they need, desire, and the circumstances of their lives. It does not mean you have to know everything about them. It means you have to know what drives them.
- Straightforward Clarity
Being committed also means being able to communicate that commitment so others understand fully what you are committed about. The best way to be clear about your commitment is to write it down. It cannot be a concept in your head or something you cannot articulate and explain.
- A Sense of Community
Your sense of community must come into play if you are a committed leader. According to McMillan & Chavis (1986), a sense of community is “a feeling that members have of belonging; that members matter to one another and to the group.” They also said that a sense of community is “a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together.” In a nutshell, to be an effective leader, you will want to ensure that everyone in your team supports and is supported by everyone else.
When the going gets tough
The hardest part about being committed is when you are challenged and you face the idea of losing your direction. Leaders who allow themselves to get sidetracked are those who have either forgotten about their commitment or failed to write it down. Many leaders start strong and then something happens to get in the way. Any one of the following reasons could have happened:
- You decide something is more important
- You picked the wrong people to help you
- You were never fully committed to be begin with – It was mostly adrenaline and the thrill of starting something new that motivated you
It is hard to be an effective leader but much harder to be a leader without a strong commitment. There will be obstacles, rough patches, and plateaus. And not everyone will be on your side. When things no longer look like fun because the odds are ominous, it is your commitment to your cause that will see you through – and the people you have around you. This means you need to surround yourself with support but to get this, you need to give out support as well.
How to show commitment
- Write down your commitment
- Share your commitment
- Be accountable
You can also show commitment by making sure you have a committed team. Do this by encouraging your team to be themselves, accept their flaws, work on their flaws, and help each other. As their leader, you have to be the model in showing humanness. You are not perfect and if you acknowledge that, you show humility and you are able to connect with your team. The level of commitment will improve and everyone will want to serve and help the others because of the renewed bond.
Of course, there will be disagreements and differences in opinion but as a committed leader, you should be able to ride the minor disagreements and only argue for those ideas and projects that will help you succeed as a team. Passion within the team is a great asset and if you have a clear and firm commitment, you will be able to be more selective on any potential battles and focus only on those that will protect and grow your commitment and goal. In short, choose your battles and use your commitment to make your decisions on where to place your best efforts.
Claudio Ranieri will go down in history as having achieved one of the most remarkable events. Much has been made of the camaraderie between the Leicester players. Ranieri has helped to maintain that spirit throughout the campaign through his commitment to his team – and the club have reaped the rewards.
What will you do today to develop your commitment further?