5 Practical Ways Successful Leaders Gain Commitment

 Asking leaders about their most important challenges at the start of a leadership development leadership-gaining-commitmentprogram always adds a tremendous layer of practicality to our talent development sessions.  Last week, I had the pleasure of working with more than 50 eager mid-level leaders from two distinctly different companies but interestingly enough, many of their challenges were the same.  Of the several great conversations and lessons gained from the content and the Leadership Business Simulations the participants engaged in to better their leadership skills, one dialogue stood out more than any other; a deep discussion on the tips and tools great leaders use to gain commitment.

For full transparency, this specific topic came up as part of a debriefing from a scenario in the business simulation.  In the simulation, the leaders of the simulated company were faced with a portfolio of initiatives they could invest in to help add value, but of course also had an expense.  One of the initiatives was about investing in new HR systems that would change the entire performance management system of the simulated company. The live participants had a hearty debate about the investment as some of the team wanted the HR systems, and some wanted to use the money on more R&D for future product development.  The most significant argument the leader who was pushing for the R&D budget made was about how IT systems without real commitment from employees toward success was just a waste of money.  He shared real life stories about a similar scenario where everyone had checked out because they didn’t feel committed to the change and the systems.  In the simulation, the team ultimately made the decision to go with the HR system and the follow-up conversation about the scenario and how to gain commitment was excellent.

I went through my notes and am pleased to share 5 simple, and practical tips for how leaders can gain commitment from the people that report to them either directly or indirectly as part of process leadership.

Ask for Help, Insight, and Ideas

People are typically more enthusiastic and engaged when they feel like they have helped create the outcome. Every leader who spoke of success shared that their teams make better business decisions when they have the ability to provide input.  One quote summarized it well.  “I knew things were going well when people started talking about ‘our’ company and the new performance management system and stopped talking about how ‘the’ company’s wasted investment in software that doesn’t work.”

Take Your Self and Your Team in for a Tune-up

Nobody ever got better by not practicing.  In our volatile and uncertain world, new skills are critical for success and relying on old skills and old ways of thinking is a guarantee for failure.  You have built in excuses (no time, no money, no ROI, etc.), but don’t fall for it.  Invest at least 5-10 days of training and development for yourself and your teams.

It’s Okay to Be a Coach and Mentor

With artificial intelligence and enhanced data analytics all around us, it’s easy to forget that human do appreciate human things.  Leaders need to recognize that it’s ok to be coaches and mentors.  It’s ok to engage in deep dialogues around business, strategy, and how to be a better leader.  Unfortunately, it seems like a dying art, but successful leaders recognize how critical great coaching and mentoring can be.

Build a Culture Where Growth is a Right

The best leaders look at professional growth as a right; not something that just happens.  They take the time to create a culture where people feel like they are cared about and there is endless opportunity.

Identify, Support, and Nurture the High Performers (and Stop Worrying about the Weak Ones)

This one really surprised me.  The most successful leaders shared that they’ve learned not to focus on the poor performers and really concentrate and the great ones.  They shared that the emotional, physical, and financial investment was simply not worth it and worse yet, all of the wasted time and resources were being taken away from the top performers.  There comes a time when you realize the weak performers aren’t going to make it and you need to exit them so they don’t hurt the good ones.


Robert Brodo

About The Author

Robert Brodo is co-founder of Advantexe. He has more than 20 years of training and business simulation experience.