I’ve heard that story multiple times. It had plenty of flavors but the baseline was always the same. A manager promised a team member something. It wasn’t really under manager’s control. After some time promise appeared to be empty as the manager, no matter how much they tried, couldn’t keep the word. It ended up with huge frustration of the team member.
Now it doesn’t really matter what kind of “something” we discuss. It may be as well raise as new project assignment or chance to attend the training or whatever. It doesn’t really matter if the thing was big or tiny. The only aspect which matters is the promise was empty.
I care about my credibility. It means you’ll often hear “no” from me only because I won’t promise you something I’m not sure I can carry through. The sole reason I’d like to say “yes” as badly as you’d like to hear it doesn’t change anything. If you caught me not keeping my promises a couple of times you wouldn’t trust me anymore. And what’s the use of a manger that isn’t trusted by their people?
Overpromising is a royal sin for every manager. Telling blatant lies is even worse, but most of the time managers overpromise with good intent. They say what they believe should be said to make their teams happy. This may even make people happy in the short perspective, but in the long run it will backfire big time.
If I had to point single root cause which resulted in the biggest overall frustration of employees it would be overpromising. Telling people things they want to hear but not being able to do what was promised. It ruins morale. It ruins trust.
And trust isn’t something you can rebuild in a day or two. Sometimes you can’t rebuild it at all. And if your team doesn’t trust you I don’t foresee there’s a stunning career in management waiting for you.