Keep those small commitments!

Small commitments Your days are indeed dotted with small promises and commitments to your employees: from “I’ll stop by this afternoon to give you a hand” to “drop by my office later and we’ll talk about that.” In the rush to get your own work done, some of those promises could slip your mind, and such forgetfulness over time can hurt your credibility.

Here are some tips on how to keep your word:

Be cautious about making idle promises. Don’t commit to anything unless you intend to follow through.

When you make a commitment, give yourself a deadline, too. This way, you’re less likely to put things off until you’ve forgotten about them.

Maintain a list. Briefly jot down each small promise at the moment you make it, or add it to your to-do list. Periodically check the list and complete any commitments you’ve neglected.

Set aside time to follow through. It takes only a few minutes to deliver a book, talk with someone or proofread a report. In about 15–20 minutes a day, you can probably meet all your small commitments and thus multiply your team’s productivity.

Get your team’s help. Certain team members can fulfill some of your promises as well as you. Look for opportunities where your people can share their knowledge, experience and ideas without your direct involvement.

Encourage people to remind you. If you’re cheerful about it, your employees won’t mind giving you a little nudge.