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Leadership & Empowerment

If You Say Then You Must

If you can’t take what your leader says at face value, how can you confidently follow them for anything?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

For anyone who grew up in the 70’s/80’s, your word was gold. The days of writing sales deals on napkins are long gone. Eye contact, handshakes to seal mutual understanding and meaningful words that connected people – these were expected in most business engagements but have been replaced with Likes and digital documents.

We live in a world of lip service, “caught you on camera saying this” and using other mediums to communicate our messaging for us. We focus a lot on our Personal Brand by positioning ourselves to be whoever or whatever we want to be – as long as we substantiate it with digital support.

Leaders don’t have this luxury.

The people we lead are watching our every move. When leading companies, I found it odd that staff who invited me for Christenings, weddings, funerals or even visits to staff in the hospital would be shocked that I actually showed up. It was who I was and if I said I’d drop by, it was a done deal.

If you can’t take what your leader says at face value, how can you confidently follow them for anything?

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Apollo Angco
Written By

Old-School "UNFLUENCER", Apollo brings over 30 years of invaluable sales and operations experience. This Filipino-Canadian has global experience in six countries including finance, music & entertainment, sports, IT, and digital marketing. Follow him on LinkedIn.



  1. Avatar


    10th July 2020 at 4:32 pm

    I do find myself constantly needing a written record, a memo, an email or any record of some sort before I roll with anything. I guess that makes me jaded but I learned early on that things do change a lot and that includes words. I have high regard for people who stay true to their word and I try to be one of them.

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    10th July 2020 at 4:39 pm

    No matter how much the younger generation wants to proclaim how different work culture and management is now, the mentors who have come before us will always have the upper hand when it comes to how well versed they are in personal communication. There weren’t as much screens between people or “pretend-you-didn’t-see-notification-moments” because most conversations happened face-to-face.

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    Muriel Mac

    10th July 2020 at 4:43 pm

    So true!!

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    Ina Camille

    10th July 2020 at 4:48 pm

    I have been fortunate to work with several people whom I can trust that they mean what they say and do what they say they were going to do.
    I have always valued sincerity in people and I still think someone’s word is worth of great value. I look up to leaders who are always sincere.

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    V Sam

    10th July 2020 at 8:02 pm

    Awesome article. Leaders who are able to treat their subordinates as apprentices or mentees are rare gems that should be treasured. Vice versa, mentors nowadays are more open to learn something from their mentees as well. The cycle continues. 🙂

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    Adrian Corpuz

    10th July 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Those were the days, but we can still live up to that practice. I can still remember when you have to be in a place where you’re supposed to meet at the exact time you mentioned in your call a few hours ago using your landline.

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    Maricris Supat

    10th July 2020 at 8:35 pm

    Sir Apollo is A great boss he is someone who inspires his staff to be their best selves. He also help us in our growth opportunities, he also share his constructive manner and help us to develop a plan for improvement. A wonderful person inside and out. I am so proud to be mentored by him.

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    Bry Alzona

    11th July 2020 at 12:44 am

    Very well said. For leaders, the most essential quality is not perfection but credibility and trust. You shouldn’t have to say the same thing twice before someone believes it. When a good leader make a commitment, they build hope. When they keep it, they build trust.

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    Brian Calla

    11th July 2020 at 4:06 am

    Thanks for sharing and 100% right on the follow through required to be an effective leader.

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    11th July 2020 at 9:25 am

    In every leader-staff relationship, there is always a barrier – the barrier of you being superior and them being subordinate. They rather share opinions with each other rather than with you.. Break that barrier, make them feel comfortable when you’re around. Building relationship is like gaining their trust and respect. I remember a boss once said, “I’m done for today” and on my mind, “yes you’re done commanding everything to us”. When you dream – you dream with your team, you plan with your team and together you reach for that dream. Give everyone a credit rather giving yourself a pat on the back.

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    11th July 2020 at 10:21 am

    True words have never been spoken. I’ve had my share of leaders and bosses who’d say anything just to keep me satisfied, but never really follow through with what they promised. They happen so often that I’ve just learned to take everything with a grain of salt. So much so that it genuinely surprises me when a boss or a leader actually follows through with their word.

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    Jen A

    13th July 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Saying “You have my word” and people being reassured by it is a measure of one’s credibility. You’ll always be one of those guys. Great article from someone who practices what he preaches.

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    14th July 2020 at 10:20 am

    Personal brand building is challenging in this digital age. But as long as you keep your words and follow through, people would always remember and recognize the person that you are, the way you show up for them, thus makes up a much more positive “personal brand building”.

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    14th July 2020 at 1:06 pm

    The author would seem overly sensitive and somewhat a narcissist. Although he is correct in his premise that a good leader is a man of his word, his basis for saying that his subordinates blindly follow him lacks a leg to stand on. To conclude on mere assumption, an employee subordinate who is somewhat surprised of an employer/superior who pays visits to weddings or other events of his subordinate does not necessarily mean that such employee-subordinate has no trust or belief to the former’s (employer/superior) commitment. Such employee may have expressed shock to his superior out of gratitude or modesty.
    Moreover, I fervently agree that a good leader is a man of his word and honors his commitments. However, he must also be adaptive to social change in these modern times.

    On taking people at face value, trust is hard to find these days and in it is in these little social experiences or moments that we earn trust.

    • Apollo Angco

      Apollo Angco

      21st July 2020 at 6:14 pm

      Thanks for sharing your insights. I am glad that we agree on the main and underlying premise that a good leader is a person of their word. You bring up some great points and although my cited example may seem weak or shallow, it was just an example and of course there are more concrete ways of earning this trust from the people you lead (sticking to the career-mapping for your staff to help them get to their desired professional destination, ensuring that deserved salary increases are realized and being consistent in how you adjudicate or uphold polices etc… are just some other examples). As leaders, we oftentimes downplay the simplest of promises – hence the example I provided. You are spot on when you say that a leader must be adaptive to social change in these times…no words could ring truer. There is no greater challenge than to earn the trust of your fellow colleagues or staff today – but that is what all leaders sign up for and a major part of the journeys that we have chosen to undertake. Thanks again sharing your thoughts.

      – Boss A

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    Inna Antig

    21st July 2020 at 1:42 pm

    This is totally true! The mark of a true leader is how they are able to lead by example, not only during working hours, but as a well-rounded individual. Those who fake compassion, empathy, and support for the team are so easy to point out, and I’d hate for me to be that kind of leader someday.

    More than what you can contribute intellectually to a team, a leader must be somebody who brings a certain aura of openness and integrity that you’d only gain through being a trustworthy and REAL person.

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