Most of us have at some point in our careers worked for an inconsistent boss. A manager who sometimes ask for a lot of detail, sometimes little. Sometimes wants you to run it past them and other times are annoyed that you are bothering them. Sometimes they required you to attend meetings with clients sometimes its deemed unnecessary. And we all know how frustrating working with someone like this can be!
Consistency is a huge driver of success in Leadership.
Inconsistent behaviour creates resentment and wastes time as others wonder how and when they should approach you. This essentially slows down productivity and reduces effectiveness.
Inconsistency Breeds fear and uncertainty in others, disrupts concentration and makes it hard for others to perform at their best.
Consistency creates an environment of trust, certainty and confidence.
It is interesting to note Leaders who are consistently ‘bad’ are better than those that are erratic in their behaviour. It is human nature to feel more secure around people whose behaviour we can predict.
For example, someone that is always late is more consistent and preferable to some who is sometimes late and sometimes on time. The first one we know where we are and we can predict their behaviour the second we can’t.
President Trump is a great example of consistency in leadership and how important it is. Despite his many failings he is completely consistent in his actions. He is predictable. We can trust and understand how he will behave in a given situation even if this is far from ideal.
What can you do to be more consist in your leadership?
- Emotional consistency
- Focus and being in the present
- Changing gears slowly
- Following through 100%
1. Emotional consistency
Our emotions have a huge impact on the people around us. Our emotional state effects concentration, productivity and performance in either a positive or negative way. This is called emotional contagion. We are all familiar with feeling in a great mood and then being suddenly pulled down by the emotions of others around us or the opposite, feeling low and someone lifting us up and making us smile.
Knowing this as leaders we have an opportunity to set the tone with our own emotions.
What type and level of emotion would best benefit your team and your workplace? How can you be more mindful of your emotional state through the day?
2.Focus and being present.
In order to be focused and present we need to take regular time away from our desk/ job to set goals, schedule our time and reaffirm direction.
Without this we can quickly become fragmented, overwhelmed and unclear leading to inconsistent behaviour. When we are focused on what is in front of us we are more aware of our actions. We mindfully can pay attention to others and what is going on in our environment.
3.Changing gears smoothly.
Thinking back to being a passenger in a manual car I remember some drivers changing gears in a way that would jerk me around, it would be sudden and disruptive. Where-as other drivers changed gears by anticipating the change in advance and smoothly adjusting the car’s speed and direction.
It is the same in leadership. The goals is to implement change in a smooth way, almost as if no one notices, rather than in an haphazard or rushed manner.
How can you communicate your thinking process to others? So that there is not a sudden change in direction or speed? We sometimes can make the mistake of believing that we are communicating a clear direction when we haven’t given others a chance to catch up with our thinking.
Successful change for yourself or others is about consistency.
4.Follow through. Always! 100% of the time. This is an obvious one for consistency but it doesn’t make it any easier. What if we did the things that needed actioning first? What if we consistently followed through with unpleasant, uncomfortable, difficult and tasks 100% of the time. What would be the impact of this be on our leadership?
As far as consistency is concerned success comes not when you reach your goal but by repetition and frequency without exception. In fact goals can often get in the way, we can become demotivated by thinking about how far we still have to go and give up just before we are starting to make real progress. If instead we judged our success by our habits we are in complete control of the outcome. Be proud of your daily habits and small wins and you are well on the road to successful leadership.