Growing in Leadership: Under-Promise, Over-Deliver

1097209_shaking_handsWhile talking to a great friend, I was reminded of the principle of under promising and over delivering.  I don’t even remember where I learned it – someone much smarter than me.

I think lots of times in ministry we over-promise and then end up under-delivering. In other words we say we are going to do something and we don’t.  We say we will meet a deadline and are late.

There are lots of reasons we over-promise:

–  We are people pleasers at heart.  We want to make people happy and think we can do superman (or woman) type feats.

–  It is easier to just agree to something or promise something at the moment, even if it is unrealistic in reality.

–  Ministry gets busy with tons of distractions. We may have the best of intentions, but something else comes along.

However, there are some serious consequences when we under-deliver:

–  We run the risk of disappointing those we are serving.

–  Too many disappointments lead to a lack of trust.

–  A lack of trust can lead to questions of integrity.

As leaders, we must maintain the trust of those we serve.  So how do we over-deliver?

–  Don’t set unrealistic deadlines or expectations for yourself.  It may sound fabulous to say, but it is meaningless if you can’t meet the deadline.  In fact, set a deadline that you can easily beat.

–  Surprise people by going above and beyond what they would expect.  I think this was Jesus’s idea first.

 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Matthew 5:41

–  Only promise what you know you can do.

–  When you blow it, apologize and do better next time.

–  S

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *