20. Aug, 2015



Over the years I have worked with all types of people in various kinds of business, cultural, social and political organizations and I have developed my own thinking about being dependable when it comes to our promises that we make to the people around us.

Being dependable is very important, not only to the people you have worked or work for but also to the people who have worked and work for you. One of the best ways to win a respect is to be known as a person whose word is always good. Developing and maintaining trust has always been vital in any relationship.

Promises are easy to make, sometimes hard to keep. It is bad business to make them lightly. The manager to whom you have blithely promised improved results will not forget it quickly if you fail to produce. Neither will the employee whom you have led to expect a pay rise you could not deliver.

Why are we so quick to make promises? It is probably because they are so simple to do. Promises are a quick, easy and painless way to motivate people, to get them to do what we want. Eventually, however, the time comes when we have to make good. That is when difficulties show up.

Actually there is nothing wrong with making promises provided you observe a few precautions:

1. How sure are you that you can deliver the goods? Overly optimistic executives sometimes get carried away and promise things they do not fully control. Managers who promise to promote a person, for example, ought to first make certain that they can obtain the required approvals. Their intentions may be the best but what if higher authorities would not go along with their thinking?

2. Do you honestly intend to keep your promises? Under everyday pressures, it is easy to promise people something then forget all about it and assume they will too. Unfortunately, they would not. More than likely they will be thinking about it constantly. If you want to avoid repercussions you had better not stop thinking about it either.

3. Are you particularly careful not to mislead people? Good managers are not reluctant to talk to their people about their future prospects but they are realistic when they do and are sure not to create false hopes by painting too rosy a view.

4. Do you make a practice of delivering all that is promised? Forcing people to settle for something less than they have been led to expect leaves a bad taste. If you want their continued co-operation and support always settle in full, however inconvenient or painful you may find it.

Therefore I found that we should make promises to keep. If there is the slightest possibility you might not be able to then do not promise. Always remember to deliver more than you promise, rather than promise more than you can deliver.

I have developed this advice for some of my friends and colleagues after making so many mistakes and errors myself whilst interacting, reacting and communicating with the people who were working for and with me before I retired.

Dr Ram Lakhan Prasad.