“The power to make and keep commitments to ourselves is the essence of developing the basic habits of effectiveness.” Stephen Covey Click to tweet
There is no “one size fits all” leader or leadership style. But there are characteristics or qualities that all great leaders have in common. Over the last few sessions, I’ve shared about how trust is vital to effective leadership. Today, I conclude our conversation on trust and discuss the most important trust account that we must make daily deposits in.
Leadership Training Session Video
Over the last few sessions, we have discussed the characteristics of trust as part of an ongoing series on the ingredients that make up great leaders. Last session, I shared the concept of a trust account. Essentially, we have a trust account with everyone we interact with. Just like a bank account, we can make deposits and withdrawals from this account. I want to finish our discussion on trust by talking about the most important trust account that exists: the trust account we have with ourselves.
It might seem narcissistic to rate your own trust account as the most important. But developing our own trust account is crucial to developing trust accounts with others. In his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey states, “The power to make and keep commitments to ourselves is the essence of developing the basic habits of effectiveness”.
Commitments are the currency of our personal trust accounts. We can make deposits that build our confidence and trust in ourselves by keeping personal commitments, but we can also make withdrawals that aid insecurity and self-doubt. This balance must be maintained and evaluated on a daily basis. In short, keeping commitments that we make to ourselves is fundamental to personal success and our success as leaders.
My Commitment to Wake Up Early
For those of you who don’t know, I am not a morning person. My goal for years has been to wake up at 6 am. For nearly as long as I’ve had the goal, I’ve struggled with it. Each morning rolls round and I consistently hit the snooze button multiple times. Some of you might be thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just hitting the snooze button”. But every time this happens, I break a commitment and lose a little more faith in myself. Doing this once or twice over the course of a few months is not a big deal. But the consistent failure to meet my goal creates a distrust in myself that seeps into other areas of my life. There becomes a voice in my head saying, “If you can’t even wake up on time, then how can your boss trust you to lead that project or why would people want to be under your leadership?”
Remember there is nothing wrong with waking up after 6am; the problem is that I’m breaking a commitment to myself. I either need to change when I wake up or be disciplined enough to wake up with my alarm clock. But here’s the positive side of the trust account with ourselves: the more I do wake up at 6am, the more confidence I have in myself. That confidence translates to other areas of my life, especially my leadership. I feel more competent in my work and more assured in my interactions with those around me because I am making deposits into my trust account.
It’s hard to earn trust with other people when you don’t trust yourself. Leaders who have large trust accounts with others begin by establishing a substantial trust account with themselves.
If you want to develop the skill of trust, you must start with trusting yourself, and that process begins with making and keeping commitments.
- This may be hard, but take some time and think introspectively. What are some areas in your personal leadership you have self-doubt in?
- What commitments are you consistently not keeping? Evaluate these commitments. Do they need to be deleted, modified, or attempted with more self-discipline?
- Once you begin keeping these commitments, re-evaluate your confidence. Has it grown?