People find comfort in consistency. When a singer has a hit song, and they perform it over and over again, their fans tend to build a special connection to that song. When a sports team is reliably successful, supporters gravitate to their games again and again, cheering them on and buying merchandise.
Consistency is especially key for leaders. When they can establish a pattern of consistency, especially one that leads to success, people are drawn to it and begin to rely upon it. That consistency might look like:
- A leader who is always kind
- A leader who prioritizes honesty and integrity over anger or frustration
- A leader who is continuously committed to the success of their employees
A sure-fire way to build trust amongst your team is to demonstrate a visible and unwavering commitment to consistency.
The Dangers of Inconsistent Behavior
As we wrote in our book, Would You Work for You? — The Quest: Discovering the Leader Within, “You can’t show compassion one moment and pound your fist the next. The people around you need you to be predictable. Team members can’t feel safe if they don’t know what to expect from you.”
Leaders who make promises and flake out are actively destroying trust. Leaders who seem calm one moment and freak out the next are sabotaging their teams. Over time, belief in leadership fades away. People vote with their feet and seek out employment opportunities where there’s more hope for stability and reliability.
“The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.” ― James C. Collins, researcher, author, speaker, and consultant
Someone’s Always Watching
Consistency isn’t about who you are when no one’s looking, because, when you’re a leader, someone is always looking. Each of your words has the potential to trigger an assumption. Every action you take has an effect, whether intended or not. If you lose your composure and stomp around the office, you’re sending a message of inconsistency. Your team members will realize they cannot trust you to remain calm in stressful situations. If you make a promise and do not follow through, your team members will realize that your word holds no value.
In our book, we wrote that “The people around you, specifically those you lead, are watching and making their own judgments from nearly every action you take. Own how you’re showing up and do the things that ignite the best in others, not shut them down.”
Sometimes the whole world is falling apart. A leader might stand calmly in the middle of the chaos, saying, “We’re going to get through this. This is what I need you to do. I’ll follow through on my part.” People listen and obey, because they see that their leader isn’t overwhelmed, disorganized, frustrated, or afraid. A circle of consistency forms in the middle of a challenging situation.
Time Plays a Role
Do you have a friend who is always late? Perhaps the two of you plan to meet for brunch at 10, but instead you find yourself alone and waiting. You might start to wonder why it seems like something else is always more important than you are.
In the business world, the consequences of chronic lateness can be severe. When a CEO is 30 minutes late to a meeting, it’s a form of disrespect. Instead, if you consistently honor your team members’ time, it’s a way of demonstrating respect. Show an awareness that their time has value and you don’t wish to squander it.
“To add value to others, one must first value others.” — John Maxwell, author, speaker, and pastor
Also from our book, “Other than behavior that is openly offensive, the misuse or disrespect of other people’s time can be one of the strongest reasons for dissatisfaction in a leader. This includes being late, not showing up for scheduled meetings, multi-tasking rather than being present while speaking with others, holding meetings without agendas, or exceeding the scheduled time limits due to disorganization.” Your team members notice when you do these things, they take mental notes, and they won’t forget the message that you’re sending.
On the other hand, if you offer them an environment of consistency — one where they know their time will be valued, moods will remain calm, and promises will be kept — then the culture at your organization will flourish.
Get ready to set meaningful goals and define your purpose as a leader with our free eBook!
Author, Speaker, and Change Agent.
Chris leads a dynamic team of passionate change agents who are dedicated to partnering with organizational executives to create cultures that inspire, engage and ignite the best in people. Our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams and align operation practices to delighting the customer and drive breakthrough results.