How many times does your team start working on something, thinking you’re all committed to this same direction? Then, before long, you find someone is heading in a different direction? How did this happen?

This problem is more common than you might imagine. You meet and agree to a direction. Then, before long you figure out you’re not going in the same direction. What happened? How did this happen as you all agreed during that meeting?

A lack of commitment is a sign someone didn’t vocalize their truth. When this happens, it’s a sign the team didn’t engage in a sufficient level of conflict to reveal differing beliefs. People are not withholding information based on some bad intention, but it is frustrating when it happens.

The key to commitment

The key to commitment is for the teams to embrace a healthy level of conflict (See yesterday’s post). It is the willingness to state what they believe true knowing it’s OK that we may not agree.

In other words, without conflict people are withholding valuable information. This withheld information will continue to hold people in their beliefs. Not shifting beliefs makes it difficult for teams to be aligned. True commitment is not possible without alignment.

Leading for Commitment

Commitment is difficult to measure. How do you know people are committed, except in the rear-view mirror?

As a leader, you can create the conditions needed for commitment. Focus on enhancing trust in the team. Through this, you will make it safe for people to voice their perspective.

Ensure your team environment encourages everyone to have their voice heard. Encourage a debate of directions.

At times you will find the team wasn’t as committed as you thought. That’s OK; you have the opportunity to learn something valuable. Look for what condition allowed for the misalignment to be possible.

Through this, you’re likely going to find a new depth to trust on your team.

You’ve got this.