There are many different ideas about the best way to behave in the office in order to ensure that you make a good impression and move up the corporate ladder as efficiently and predictably as possible.
Some productivity and success gurus will advise you to always smile; others will tell you to be cutthroat and to negotiate as hard as possible for your own interests, at every possible turn, in order to convey signals of strength and confidence.
One of the most common bits of advice, however, is to under-promise and over-deliver.
Any good management skills training course will tell you that sticking to your word is vitally important, and yet many people try to impress their bosses and coworkers by promising the moon and stars, only to inevitably falter sooner or later and miss the mark.
Here are some reasons why you should always under-promise and over-deliver.
You get used to achieving excellence rather than scrambling to make baseline
The way we perceive ourselves has a tremendous effect on how we position ourselves in the world, and on the things we feel we’re capable of, subconsciously.
Though you might tell yourself it’s not the case, you can rest assured that if you make a habit of constantly failing to meet the baseline requirements set by your job, or any other area of your life, you will begin to experience shattered confidence.
This chronically wounded confidence can manifest itself in the most harmful ways, by preventing you from working as hard as you could, by stopping you from seizing opportunities, and by making you bitter and resentful.
By promising little and delivering much, you condition your subconscious mind to believe that you’re more than equal to any task.
By promising much and under-delivering, however, you tell yourself that you’re a failure.
You come to respect your own word more, and so do other people
“Integrity” is a big word, and to a large degree, it really means “being consistent, reliable, and always keeping your word”.
People who always keep their word — both to themselves and to others — have far more self-respect, and they win the respect of others, too.
Everyone wants to work with people who are reliable and forthright, and who do what they say they will. By under-promising and over-delivering you ensure that you always stick to your word and, as a result, boost your integrity both in your own eyes and in those of your colleagues.
You put yourself in a position of moving constantly from strength to strength
When you under-promise and over-deliver, you put yourself in a position of constantly moving from strength to strength, as you accustom yourself to always achieving above and beyond the call of duty.
This kind of positive incremental achievement can add up in a surprisingly short time, and yield some truly incredible and uplifting results.
This constant over-achievement, so to speak, can also motivate you to be more proactive in other areas of your life, constantly expanding your comfort zone and capacity by small increments, and enjoying serious benefits as a result.