In the early part of my career, one of my greatest mentors was my first manager. I was an entry-level employee, eager to learn. She taught me the importance of consistent leadership, no matter what situation confronted our team.
During the pandemic and recession of 2020, one word was endlessly used to describe the ability of businesses and executives to succeed: pivot. I agree, knowing when and how to shift strategies is valuable, but I believe consistency is equally worthwhile to an organization.
Why are consistent leaders important?
If we’ve learned anything from the last year, it’s that our world is unpredictable. Add in ever-changing digital innovation and you have a recipe for choppy waters. Consistent leaders keep organizations focused during turbulent times. The people who work with these leaders understand priorities and expectations.
Look at some of the world’s most notorious executives, like this example from Fortune, “While not an outspoken leader, Jeff Bezos lets his actions and processes speak for him. He is known and respected for establishing a consistent culture and value system at Amazon. This set of values allows the entire company to question priorities and clearly provide feedback to colleagues.”
Another example of a world-class consistent leader comes from Salesforce, “Marc Benioff is a unique example of a consistent leader. Unlike Bezos and Welch, Benioff takes more of a socially conscious approach. Benioff is consistently focused on the social impact and responsibility of his company. Closing the gender wage gap and boycotting Indiana after the state’s controversial “religious freedom” law was announced are just two of the most recent examples. He doesn’t wait to see how other companies and CEOs approach these issues and what the repercussions are. Benioff is consistently out in front, above the fray.”
Start with these three steps to be more consistent in your leadership style.
Set expectations — stick with them
The mentor who made such a large impact on my career demonstrated this regularly. Every time we worked on a project, she requested a timeline of events and deliverables. It did not matter the size of the assignment, timeline and deliverables were essential.
There is security in knowing exactly what is expected of you and when.
I like this conclusion from CIO magazine, “If a leader is asking their employees to remain accountable for their goals and does not practice the message that they are preaching to their subordinates, this can lead to severe discontent among staff members. When a leader places a high priority on remaining accountable to the goals that they have set for themselves and their company, the staff has no choice but to fall in line.”
Imagine working with someone with drastic mood swings. When a project encounters a hurdle, they may become enraged or take it in stride. Now imagine this person is your boss. This makes for a chaotic and unpleasant work environment.
Leaders don’t have to be emotionless, but a calm demeanor is beneficial to all aspects of work. Levelheaded leaders:
- Encourage loyalty
- Inspire confidence
- Develop and support employee retention
Now picture a crisis situation like a global pandemic or sudden recession. What type of leader do you want at the helm of your organization?
A steadfast vision
How many times have you worked with a leader that shifts priorities regularly? It is nearly impossible to keep up.
Ever-changing priorities are ineffective. Your people won’t know what tasks are most important and you won’t meet any goal if you have fifteen goals at once.
Dave McKeown, Founder and CEO of Outfield Leadership explained it this way to Inc, “The consistent leader is sure of their vision, holds steadfastly to it and repeats it as often as possible in as many venues as possible. Town halls, monthly meetings, weekly reviews, daily stand-ups, emails, and phone calls are all opportunities the consistent leader takes to remind their people of the organization’s North Star. Are you communicating your organization and/or team’s North Star throughout all forms of communication?”
Lead with purpose
The first step to becoming a consistent leader is self-awareness. Do you know what stressors derail you? What strengths amplify your leadership style? An assessment can help you uncover these traits for you and your teammates. Click here to learn more.