Consistency in Leadership Is A Double-Edged Sword
Consistency in leadership is more than just being dependable or aligning your values with your behaviors. The best leaders understand that consistency is a double-edged sword that can build strong cultures, or become a weapon when applied inappropriately.
Consistency becomes a weapon when
- You are trying to trap someone; e.g. “Yesterday you got mad when I used profanity, but today you said a four-letter word. You are a hypocrite.”
- You are trying to justify your own behavior; e.g. “You made me wear my mask over my nose, but I saw three people breaking the rule over lunch and nobody enforced it.”
- You are nurturing a grudge; e.g. “See, I knew you couldn’t be trusted.”
- You overdo fairness to gain control; e.g. “Everyone was invited to the celebration party, but not everyone contributed equally to our team’s success.”
- Authenticity is used as an excuse to avoid meeting people where they are at. “I’m just being true to myself.”
Consistency is counterproductive when
- Doubling down on a bad idea to save face
- Sticking to your guns just to prove a point
- Avoiding change when new information suggests otherwise
- Enforcing policies without consideration of context
Consistency builds up your culture when leaders
- Show up healthy, energized, and ready every day
- Apply the same rules of engagement in every interaction, including conflict
- Stay out of distress. Because when we are in distress we often behave at odds with the best interests of the people we lead.
Consistency matters most
- Around behavioral norms for how we treat each other
- In the alignment of mission, strategy, and execution
- In Daily interactions that build trust
To be better leader, learn when consistency matters most, and when it should take a back seat to agility.