Years ago, one of my people got mad at me because I rescheduled a meeting. It is something that I try not to do and I felt badly that I did. He felt that the time we scheduled was his—I made a commitment and backed out. The unintended message to him was: Something more important than you has come along and you are being rescheduled to accommodate.
Keeping commitments is one of the toughest and most important leadership lessons. When I reflect on the most successful leaders I’ve worked with, they never rescheduled on me. Keeping their commitment was so important, I had a CEO take a call from a hospital bed. Another kept a meeting in the midst of a major acquisition. Keeping their commitment was important.
It is easy to apologize for rescheduling a meeting and move on without thinking about the real message. It is worth taking time to step back and think about how you show up with your team. Are you sending the message you intend?