Hi Everyone

BLUF - Right now, I am dealing with some people outside the work realm (no, it is not any manager-tools people) who don't seem to understand keeping a committment.

In one situation, a long-time friend keeps calling me to go for lunch/coffee etc and then blows it off. If I try to give her feedback, she almost always tries to flip it around "So what if I said I would call you after I was done with my presentation? You should have called me!"

In the other, I am a volunteer manager of a mixed adult slow pitch team. I rarely know who will show up and who won't, so I end up calling spares to play and then we have too many players. Of course, then the players who did not let me know they were coming complain that they don't get enough playing time.

The typical response I get is "I will try to make it, but am biking out to Oakville that day and not sure if I will be back in time. Good luck if I don’t make it." Of course, this response helps me in no way whatsoever.

Anyone have any suggestions as to what adjustments I might make to get yeses and nos out of these people.

With much appreciation,


WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

Oh man! Our Rotary club is in the middle of our annual fund-raiser. It's a huge operation with a lot of input from a lot of people. Everyone's a volunteer. The sad fact is that when someone works for you it is easier to make them comply with your wishes. They have to take you seriously. As M&M say, they have to laugh at your jokes.

My current attempt is to get each person back in touch with why they joined in the first place. Then get them to hold themselves to a standard that they can be proud of. Then it's constant hounding and holding to specific dates and times.

So for you, maybe something like "If I don't hear from you by 5:00 I have to call in a temp player."

TimCarlson's picture

Have you tried the feedback model, or anything along those lines? People in general may not be manager-tools savvy, but if you describe to them the impact their behavior, maybe they'll see how hard it is on you.

Good luck.

rthibode's picture


I think you could use the peer feedback model with your annoying friend. You could also try not letting her get away with it. From your example it sounds like she didn't call you and you didn't bother calling her either (after her presentation). I think you should call her and say "Hey, where are you? I'm sat here waiting for you to call." If she blows off another date, tell her "Gee, that's too bad. I cancelled other plans to make time for this today. Next time can you please try to give me a bit more notice?" then wait for her to say yes. You don't have to bring up the history of this unbelieveably rude habit, just start with now.

I don't think you can use the feedback model with your ball team without sounding a little self-important. *Maybe* the peer feedback model, but even then.

The example you cited (I'm going to Oakville, maybe I'll be back in time, maybe I won't) suggests that players are not in the habit of making a commitment to attend. In my experience, this sort of behaviour is very contagious.

Could you use a post-game get-together to ask for commitments, something like you'd do during a staff meeting? You could start by saying "Hey guys, I want to make a list of everyone who's coming next week. I won't have much time to call around for spares this week, and I know it's annoying when I call too many people and some can't play." For example, "So, George, you're going to play next Sunday, right?" If you have a pad of paper out and visibly make a list of who says they're coming, that might signal more of a commitment is needed. You could even say "THanks George! Can you do me a favour and call in a spare if your plans change? Thanks!"

Hope this helps.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge


I've found the best thing to do is choose to hang around different people. I wouldn't try too hard to change behavior outside of work, except by example.

Sorry this took so long.


stephenbooth_uk's picture

I'm having similar difficulties, mostly around people not answering their phone, not returning calls and not picking up voice mail then complaining that I didn't tell them something they needed to know (when in fact I'd called them dozens of times over a period of days and left several voice mails, probably sent them emails and left messages as well). Once or twice is understandable, but some people make it a habit.

Over the years I've come to the conclusion that there are people in our lives who are selfish idiots who will never change or only change when they finally have to suffer the consequences of their failures. One things I've noticed about such people is that usually they've had someone else covering for them and protecting them from the consequences of their actions and inactions. That may go some way to explain why some people are like that, they've never had 'feedback' (consequences, pain, loss &c) so never adjusted their behaviour; or they have been permitted to blame others and so cast themselves as victim rather than villain.

[quote="mahorstman"]I've found the best thing to do is choose to hang around different people. I wouldn't try too hard to change behavior outside of work, except by example.[/quote]

I agree. If someone has made it to adulthood with such behaviours they're unlikely to change soon and if it's outside of work it's not your job to fix their behaviour. Unfortunately, in my case, one of the worst offenders is my sister so I'm stuck with her.