The title of this blog post says it all, but for the sake of elaborating, I want you to consider a simple case:
A leader makes an earnest promise or offers something to another person insisting that once they are taken up on that offer they will fulfill it.
When taken up on the promise or offer, the leader makes an excuse and scuttles away without a valid explanation. It is almost as though the leader had never made the promise in the first place.
It is important to distinguish such an offer from a rhetorical statement, because at times the leader might just be fleshing out a thought or idea to figure out traction. In that case, the leader is not bound to execute the idea as no commitment has been made.
If there is a doubt about the seriousness of the offer, the recipient should verify if they interpreted the message correctly.
In order to ensure that everybody is on the same page, the leader would also be better served to clarify upfront as to why the idea is being shared in the first place.
Remember: More not less communication.
A one-time offense as far as backing off from a promise is concerned, is adequate to wreck a leader’s reputation. Yet, many leaders continue to stay on this road, and often wonder why the rest of the world has little respect for them.
Moral of the story: Don’t make promises you cannot keep. If you are aiming for goodwill, you are not going to get it and in return all you will get is less respect.