How many of us know that our word is our bond? By this I mean that people around us listen to what we say and watch to see if our actions match our words. The higher up on the totem pole that we go the more important it is that we are very careful or give significant thought to what it is that we say.
Now don’t just think that I am talking only to the leaders of organizations, corporations and political parties. All of us are pretty high on someone’s totem pole. We could be a single mother with a child who pays attention to every word that comes out of our mouth. We may be a divorced dad who only gets a chance to see his children every other week. Or we may believe that we are alone in this world and that no one really listens to or cares about us. Let me assure you that someone you don’t know depends upon you and listens to your every word.
Regardless of whether it is wrong or right, we are all judged by what we say and held accountable by someone. In the Bible, the book of James says: “Be quick to hear and slow to speak”. If you are speaking to an individual, or a group of people, take the time to make a thoughtful comment or give a reflective response. I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me: “I’ll get back to you on that matter” or “I will call you next week” and I never hear from them again.
Now I know that we all become very busy at times and forget to do things every now and then, but if this becomes a consistent theme in how we deal with certain individuals then it just becomes a matter of time before these individuals stop depending on us or listening to what it is that we say. In Matthew 5:37, the Bible says: “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one”. I interpret this to mean: “Say what you mean and mean what you say”. Everything else comes from vanity or conceit.
Some of the greatest leaders in my life (and let me remind you that this list includes teachers, sailors, Marines, business leaders, personal friends and clergy) have taken the time to follow up on their commitments to me and be true to their word. If times were tough for them, they would let me know that they could not honor their commitment but they would get back with me as soon as they could. And for these men and women I would gladly march through the gates of hell in support of them.
You see, for these individuals, their word was their bond and I could take their word to the bank and cash their verbal checks. Again I remind you that if you wish to become an effective leader then you must allow your word to become your bond.