Consistency Matters

There are several things that result from inconsistency. Inconsistency from leaders confuses people, erodes trust, causes fear, and can lead to a sort of learned inertia where the employee, paralyzed by uncertainty, just avoids or shuts down interactions with the offending manager.

Followers of inconsistent leaders express greater feelings of uncertainty about themselves in their interpersonal interactions. The potential impact on performance is considerable. If followers begin to doubt themselves and their abilities and even experience diminished self-esteem because of the unpredictability of their leader, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how this situation can fester. Eventually, followers leave, resign in place, or become malcontents. The price of inconsistent leadership can spell disaster to an organization’s culture.

When there’s inconsistency, things are not the same. Inconsistent leadership can be the death of a team.

The consistency rule is the tendency to maintain a consistent approach in decisions and behaviors across situations and persons. When leaders are predictable and consistent, you know what’s important to them, and you know how they make decisions. You’re more confident working for this leader because their predictability allows you to be engaged and make decisions.

In some cases, the inconsistent leader is unaware of it. There is a simple exercise to help you spot your own inconsistencies. Imagine there’s a camera in the corner of the room every time you are giving direction, making a decision, or interacting with someone in a certain situation. Reviewing the film later should not unveil a host of continuity problems; the world should see you acting in a manner consistent with your beliefs, actions, strategies, and goals.

Summing-up: With a consistent leadership style, team members know what they’re walking into every single day rather than tiptoeing into the office, wondering if the boss is going to be in a happy-go-lucky mood or if they need to be bracing to survive an apocalypse. They can focus just on their job.

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