Being a Person of Your Word

Being a Person of Your Word

by Pegine Echevarria                                                                                                                                        

My clients live in three leadership worlds: military, corporate and university student leadership. In my experience I have found that in all three worlds there is one common thread, your reputation is built on integrity—period.

Last week I had the honour of seeing one of my staff members, (a humble, quiet, effective leader) honoured in front of 180 military leaders and recruiters. He isn’t a veteran or a soldier, yet he received loud, robust applause, because he is so rare. He keeps his word.

When David:

Says he will call you at a certain date and time—he does—no matter what.

Promises to follow up with you by a certain date—he does—no matter what.

Tells you he will get back to you, he returns all phone calls within 24 hours or less.

Promises to send you a report—he does—no matter what.

Can not do it, he tells you. You always know where you stand.

Messes up, he owns up to it—immediately.

He is my model for my own behaviour. People trust leaders who follow through, do what they say they will and respect themselves and others.

Think of the leaders that you know, work with and volunteer with. Do they follow through? When they say they will call, do they? When they make a mistake or mess up do they fess up?

What do you think about them? Do you trust them?

How about your venders? Do they follow through? As representatives and leaders of their company, they are their company’s reputation. When they don’t keep their word, how confident are you about their or product or service?

Few things can limit your success as much as a reputation that is sullied, and your reputation becomes sullied when you don’t follow through, or you don’t call when you say you will. These are simple tasks that can make or break a relationship and reputation.

Are you willing to fess up and apologize for those times when:

You didn’t call because you were “too busy” or you didn’t think it was important, or you thought they would not be there anyway.

You promised to follow up by a certain date and did not.

You didn’t return calls within 24 hours for whatever reason.

You committed to take action and did not.

You said “yes, I can” but you knew that “no, you couldn’t.”

Are you willing to fess up? Are you willing to have the courage and conviction to be a leader? To lead like you know you were meant to in your life, work, family and community?

Think about your integrity and each area of your life. Do you keep your word to yourself? Taking care of yourself as promised, showing up on time for those moments you carved out for your own well being.

At work, do you do the things I listed above?

Do you keep your word with your wife, husband, kids? Do you follow through on the promises you made to them?

How about the community? Do your volunteer activities play second fiddle to the rest of your life? Do you neglect commitments, promises and agreements? Are others questioning your integrity? Are you the person the committee says not to bother with because you never follow through?

If you have experienced any of the above, read on for strategies to help you be a leader with integrity.

Being a leader in your life and work isn’t easy, but it is life transforming.



Here are quick and easy ways to focus on your integrity:
Have a specific book (can be a composition book, daily planner etc.) and write down your promises as you make them. Who is it for, what is the promise, when did you commit to follow up? Review your promise list daily and check off as you complete each promise.
Know that a promise is MORE IMPORTANT than your task sheet. If you promised someone, then do it!
Say no to promises 99% of the time. Even if you have strong feelings that make you feel compelled to say yes. This includes volunteer activities, promises to your kids and promises to your team. If you say no and do what was requested anyway, then your reputation grows, however if you say yes and DON’T fulfill your promise, your reputation will suffer tremendously.
When you do say yes, identify if you are saying yes for the following reasons:
You want to please the person.
You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
You are afraid of their anger and how they will respond to you.
If you said yes because of any of these reasons, it is a signal to start on a personal development program that will strengthen your esteem, assertiveness and boundaries.
Kick-butt action:
Write your answers and follow through on the actions below.

List a time during the last week where you didn’t follow through.

Who did your lapse effect?

Are you willing to own up to the lapse?

If you answered no, ask yourself why not? What do you need to resolve within yourself to be willing to own up?

If you answered yes, call the person and apologize, complete the task as promised and let it go.

Congratulate and pat yourself on the back.

What you did is significant in building your integrity. Integrity comes from within and when you take significant actions, like the action above, you create energy, a sense of self power and most importantly, you like and respect yourself. When you like and respect yourself others respect you.

Have You? Kissed your significant other?

Done what you said you would do?

Played in the snow, rain or sun?

Laughed with your team?

Challenged yourself in your relationships?

Thought of the Month:

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching.” —Anonymous

Magazines describe Pegine as one of the top motivational success and leadership experts with business and team building experience! Her teambuilding and motivational programs are experiential, fun and filled with content. Companies use her to motivate people, develop strong leaders & teams, and increase productivity. For more success, leadership and team building information visit her website at