Commitment separates Doers from Dreamers. It’s the difference between wishes and goals; plans and actions. And commitment is a key characteristic of influential leaders. It inspires and attracts people. People believe in, and follow, a leader who believes in something important.
It’s like the joke about the difference commitment level between the pig and the hen regarding a breakfast of ham & eggs. The pig is committed, but the chicken is just involved. And while we don’t need to ‘kill ourselves’ to show our commitment, we do need to show it.
John has 3 observations for us regarding a leader’s commitment: (This is a John Maxwell Leadership: Quality of a leader.)
Commitment starts in the heart. Some people must have everything all figured out, before they’ll make a commitment. They want there to really be no risk. Only then will they be willing to commit. But that’s too late. Commitment always precedes achievement. If you want to make a difference in other people’s lives as a leader, look into your own heart and decide if you’re really committed.
Commitment is tested by action. Talk is easy, it takes no investment. That’s also why we say talk is ‘cheap’. As one of my good friends says about talk (with no action), “Well, now you got the easy part done – you got the jaw-jackin’ done.” Without action nothing happens. There’s the story about the difference between decisions and actions. The question goes, “If there are 3 frogs on the lily pad and 1 decides to jump off, how many are left?” The answer is 3, because the one frog only decided to jump, it didn’t actually do it. Commitment in only proven by action.
Commitment opens the door for achievement. Commitment is the enemy of resistance. True commitment can overcome most obstacles through its dogged determination, constant pushing and never giving up. Once a team sees that the leader is committed to an outcome, they will add their efforts to those of the leader and focus on the prize rather than the challenges.
John says there’s really only 4 types of people with regard to commitment.
- Cop-outs. People who have no goals and do not commit.
- Holdouts. People who don’t know if they can reach their goals, so they’re afraid to commit.
- Dropouts. People who start toward a goal but quit when the going gets tough.
- All-outs. People who set goals, commit to them, and pay the price to reach them.
Question: Look at some of the current activities in your life right now. Are you really committed to their achievement? Or are you just hoping things work out?