What does the word ‘consistency’ mean to you? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines consistency as:
a: agreement or harmony of parts or features to one another or a whole.
b: harmony of conduct or practice with profession.
Knowing what consistency means is one thing, practicing it, especially as a leader, is something else. Having a consistent leadership style can be harder than it sounds. During private conversations, so many executives share with me that they struggle with consistency. From decision-making, to their pace and energy levels, to being influenced against their better judgement… consistency is a factor across so many areas of quality leadership.
You may be thinking, how is a lack of consistency possible when referring to experienced leaders? Executives who have runs on the board. What even makes a leader believe that they are not as consistent as they need to be to thrive, and ensure their team thrives too?
Many factors may be the cause of a lack of consistency in terms of leadership style. Naturally, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Some people are great at delegating. Others are skilled communicators and mentors. In my experience, it’s always helpful to look at the bigger picture when trying to pinpoint why consistency is lacking. Usual leadership rhythms may have been interrupted by an event or something else significant that is going on. Perhaps a leader is struggling with a relationship – up the line or at home, physically or mentally. We’ve all hit a place, a phase, or a time in our lives when we’ve simply just not been as interested in something. Leaders are no different.
Your team and network admire consistency in leadership. Consistency provides stability, a solid foundation to build from, sound judgement and reliability. You will find that organisations with a consistent style of leadership have less staff turnover in comparison to other organisations. People like predictability in their leaders. Especially during a pandemic and at a time when so many things in life feel up in the air.
At the heart of consistency and quality leadership, is communication. As a leader, you must be honest with yourself from the outset. You must be proactive and know where you’re going. If you don’t know where you are going, how can you expect others to trust in your vision and direction? Good consistency looks like focusing on improvement both in terms of processes and outcomes. People, whether they are leaders or not, can become impatient and be drawn towards instant gratification. When you are leading a team, you must have a sufficient level of self-awareness to pull yourself up. A consistent leadership style, or a lack of it, stems from the top down in all organisations.
Having the ability to reflect is an essential part of leadership. Regardless of how much responsibility or expectations you have on your plate, reflection is non-negotiable. Allowing yourself to become bogged down by endless meetings or your ever-growing to do list, will chip away at your ability to remain consistent over time.
Ask yourself the following questions:
• Do you think consistency in leadership is important? If you do, ask yourself why. If you don’t, ask why not.
• Are you consistent in the various roles you fulfil as a leader? With your people, executive team and all other stakeholders you interact with? What does this look like?
If you have identified a gap in your ability as an executive (or your team’s) to be consistent and need some guidance, OnTalent can help. We’ve worked with a number of executives across a range of industries to put in the work that improves their bottom line.
Deborah Wilson is a Thought Leader and a Career Strategist. She takes a personalised approach to strategic career coaching and career transitions, mentoring and leadership development. Deborah provides expert guidance for individuals while supporting organisations through change and connecting people and purpose.
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