Leaders Must Be Consistent In These Eight AreasJul 28, 2023
Welcome to Friday 411, issue #038. In 4 minutes, with 1 insight and 1 action, you’ll discover eight areas in which you must develop consistency as a leader.
Consistency in your leadership helps your team trust you more and accomplish better results.
A few years ago, I (Garland) spent time with a good friend named Brian. He had just landed a new job that involved high levels of national influence. Brian reported directly to the CEO of the company, who was highly respected in their industry.
I asked Brian what it had been like to report directly to such a high-profile leader. He responded, “It depends on which CEO shows up each day. He’s unpredictable. Some days he’s in a great mood; other times a terrible mood. Some days he tells me that he’s thrilled to have me on the team. On other days, he tells me that I’m an overpaid idiot."
He shared that the CEO was one of the most talented and intelligent people Brian had ever met. But the CEO was also emotionally fickle. No one ever knew what mood he would be in. When the boss was in a good mood, everyone believed that they were going to make the world a better place together. When he was in a bad mood, everyone feared for their jobs.”
Brian continued, “Every time he reads a good book, he changes the vision of the company. Then he gets upset six weeks later when we haven’t made more progress.”
I asked Brian how it felt to work for this leader, and he replied, “It’s exhausting. I spend all my energy figuring out how to deal with him each day and how to minimize the damage he does to the team.”
Brian described an inconsistent leader.
Inconsistent leaders don’t only produce inconsistent results. It’s much worse. Inconsistent leaders consistently cause:
- Low morale
- High turnover
- Lack of Direction
- Reduced productivity
- Harm to Well-Being
- Roadblocks to innovation
Consistency is one of the traits that solve 95% of leadership challenges. Here are eight areas in which you must develop consistency as a leader.
#1 – Consistency in Self-Leadership
No matter how many people you lead or how high your position in an organization, you will always be the first person you lead. You can’t escape yourself. If you fail to lead yourself, you set an example for everyone else that they should neglect their own self-leadership as well.
To lead yourself means to take 125% Responsibility for your thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions. You lead yourself by taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.
#2 – Consistency in Your Emotions
In the conversation with Brian, he said that the CEO was “like a stick of dynamite – powerful, unstable, and unpredictable.” His mood could change in seconds, and no one knew what would trigger the change.
Your emotions affect your team. Inconsistent emotions leave your team walking on eggshells. They fret over which boss will show up today: Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. They wonder what the best time to talk to you will be so that they can catch your good mood. That waste of energy reduces their Capacity (another one of the traits that solve 95% of leadership challenges).
#3 – Consistency in Your Attitude
As a leader, your attitude is contagious.
- If you routinely get upset with customers, your team will do the same.
- If you talk badly about the leaders above you, your team will follow suit.
- If you exude gratitude and joy, your team will demonstrate those, too.
Your attitude toward other people and toward circumstances will be reflected by the people you lead. Choose the attitudes you want your team to have, and consistently cultivate those attitudes in yourself.
#4 – Consistency in Your Vision
In our years of working with companies, we’ve seen many leaders change their vision every few months. They get excited by the possibility of a new future. But it inevitably takes longer than they expect. And the hard work of creating a new future is never as exciting as envisioning it for the first time. So, the leader changed the vision a few months later.
This habit creates confusion and chaos for the people you lead. It ultimately leads to disengagement and resentment. Commit to your vision and remain consistent with it.
#5 – Consistency in Your Insistence on Change
“Consistency of Change” might seem like an oxymoron, but it’s critical to leadership. As we said in #4, you need consistency in your vision.
But that consistent vision will demand growth and development in your organization. You team can’t shape the future without embracing change in the present.
#6 – Consistency in Your Expectations
You have expectations of your team, and your team should be held accountable to your expectations.
But it’s not fair to hold people accountable if:
- Your expectations contradict each other (for example, telling your team that you want them to have work-life balance and yet demanding 80-hour work weeks).
- Your expectations change frequently.
- Your expectations are communicated regularly.
#7 – Consistency in Your Messaging
Several years ago, we worked with a church where the employees and members complained that they weren’t being communicated with. The Senior Leadership Team felt frustrated because they had hired a Director of Communication who sent out multiple messages every week with important information. The church utilized newsletters, emails, texting services, and live announcements to communicate.
As we audited those communication pieces, we discovered the problem: inconsistency in their messaging. In one week, the church talked about nine different priorities and initiatives that they were working on. No one knew which one was the most important. They didn’t understand how those initiatives related to each other. The messaging needed to focus on the vision and one priority.
#8 – Consistency in Your Leadership Growth
According to Gallup, only 10% of people are naturally good at leading others. Ninety percent of the population must work to develop those skills and abilities. Your team needs to know that you care enough about them to become a better leader. Let them see you reading leadership books. Let them hear you talk about how you’re trying to grow as a leader.
Growth as a leader can be overwhelming because of the sheer amount of options available. In our research at AdVance Leadership, we’ve found that 95% of your leadership growth comes down to 7 traits:
- Character – learn to do the right thing.
- Competence –develop the skills needed to take your team to the next level.
- Capacity – generate the time, energy, and attention needed to lead.
- Clarity – help your team know where they’re team is going, how they’re getting there, why it’s important, and each person’s role.
- Community –build an environment of safety, trust, collaboration, and growth.
- Culture –create an atmosphere that embodies the values.
- Consistency – be dependable in your vision, attitudes, and expectations.
Concentrate on these areas, and you’ll experience continual growth as a leader (and your team will be grateful).
Identify one area where you are inconsistent. Make a plan to become more consistent in that area.
Want to live and lead more intentionally? Here are three ways we can help:
1. Follow Garland on LinkedIn for daily posts on leadership, culture, and intentional living.
2. Get your copy of Gettin' (un)Busy, named by Forbes as "one of the books everyone on your team should read."
3. Contact us if your company wants help developing leaders. We offer speaking, workshops, coaching, and ongoing leadership development.