The Virtue of Consistency

Outside of the world of business, there are lots of examples for how being steady and predictable are a good thing. Take parenting: kids who grow up in homes with consistent behavioral rules and where love is not withheld by the parents regardless of the child’s behavior tend to be more secure as adults.

Think about this “and/both” behavior: environments where love is a constant and is not used as a tool to manipulate or motivate AND when behavioral rules are consistently followed create more secure kids.

How do your employees respond to being treated with unconditional respect? If they make mistakes, do you calmly and consistently hold them accountable with or without guilt and shame? Assuming their mistakes are one-offs and not chronic, which approach tends to create a more trustworthy employees: pulling them off a project or task when they blow it or using a mistake as a learning opportunity?

At some point early in their careers most leaders either try motivating others as their parents motivated them, or they work to compensate for the way they were parented as a child and use their negative childhood experiences to inform how they lead differently at work. In either case, experience is a great teacher. What’s scary is a leader who uses a shaming and blaming approach and thinks it works or is somehow justified by the employee’s behavior.

Emotionally grounded leaders who demonstrate consistency and care even when things go poorly create organizational cultures that are high-trust, resilient and creative. They take a longer view of strategy and people development and invest in building people-up, not breaking them down.

Summing-up: Being consistent is a great place to start, especially when it is coupled with creating a plan that unites people and creates focus. Do you show-up as a consistent presence for the people you lead? Consistency both in word and deed is a virtue.

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