Dealing with people who "promise and evade"
Some of the nicest people I've ever known in my life do the "promise and evade". If you ask them to do something, they say "yes" right away, without even thinking twice about it, and then they immediately proceed to do nothing. These are cheerful people who always drop the ball. They don't really forget that they promised to do something, they really never think about it at all.
A promise and evade person never says "no", it's always "later". They slap themselves on the forehead and say, "Wow, I forgot all about that, I'll get to it tomorrow!" Or next week. Or any reasonable time frame.
Dealing with people who promise and evade was a large part of what I learned to do as a teacher. These people aren't refusing to do things, they are just putting them off for a little while, until hopefully the person that they promised to has forgotten. So the solution to get these people to do things, and follow through, is to not to forget.
For my "promise and evade" people, I write reminders in my calendar. If they promise to do something right away, I'll make a note to follow up in a week. And no, I'm not going to get angry, or try to "teach them a lesson", I just want them to do what they promised. My most common phrase is "how are you coming along with that?"
Being a leader means being able to deal with the "promise and evade" people. I've surprised a lot of people, who expected everyone to give up on them, by just asking, politely, again and again and again. "Promise and evade" people are used to people becoming angry with them, so if you don't get angry, but are just persistent, you can be successful getting them to do stuff. Usually. It doesn't work all of the time, but I am always reluctant to give up on people.
If you're not a "promise and evade" person, this is all invisible to you. If you do things when you promise, you haven't been bugged over and over and over and over, and you haven't heard "how are you coming along with that?" If you have, you promise and evade.
Posted by Brad Hall