Why Commitments are Important in Leadership

As a leader, who and what you commit to is important. You know this already. But a new study reveals just how far-reaching these effects truly are.

Researchers wanted to see the impacts of three leader commitments:

  • to their organization
  • to the organization’s vision
  • to their followers

Do these types of commitments have an effect on the way leaders communicate the vision? What about follower commitments, the leader-follower relationship and, in turn, follower performance, voice, satisfaction and turnover intentions? It’s worth knowing, and it will and probably has already significantly impacted your professional world.

Perhaps the following information will help you better understand.

To find out answers to the above questions, researchers asked a group of 20 leaders to identify their best, most average and poorest-performing follower. From that list, one follower per leader was randomly chosen to be part of the study. And then both the leaders and selected followers each completed two surveys over the course of six weeks. 

We’ll start with the two surveys the leaders completed.

  • The first one was used to identify the followers, as mentioned before. But it also had a section where these leaders were asked about their commitments.
  • The second survey filled out by leaders was used to evaluate their followers’ performance and the extent to which their follower voluntarily voices opinions to improve the workplace.

So now let’s look at what the followers filled out.

  • The first survey here centered on how well or poorly their leaders communicated the organization’s vision.
  • The second survey for followers asked about the quality of relationships with leaders, their job satisfaction and turnover intentions.

While this initial study sample was relatively small (40 people total), a second and larger study was delayed because of COVID-19. However, even the first study revealed some eye-opening findings! And again, these could impact you.

Each of the three leader commitments (to organization, vision, follower) was associated with different important outcomes. Let’s take a look:

  • The more committed the leader was to the organization, the more committed their followers to the organization, the happier the follower was in his/her role and the less likely they were to leave.
  • The more committed a leader is to the organization’s vision, the more they communicated that vision to followers and the more likely followers were to suggest improvements and raise concerns to benefit the organization and performed well in their roles.
  • The more committed leaders were to their followers, the more committed followers were to the leader, the better the performed, and the more likely they were to go “above and beyond” what their job requires.

As you can see, the commitments you make in your role as a leader have a significant impact on those who follow you.

Are you strongly committed to the right things? Choose wisely. 

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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.