Consistency: The Foundation of Good Leadership
Recently, I have been really thinking about consistency — or lack thereof — in my life.
It all started after I received results from a medical test this year. The results were a resounding condemnation of the sedentary lifestyle I have fallen into; the confluence of circumstances that lead to my working hours at my computer in my home office. It occurred to me that I need to reevaluate how I work and where I put ME in the process of accomplishing my work responsibilities.
The idea of “work-life balance” has been tossed around for years, but it became especially relevant when the pandemic moved most of us out of the office and into our houses. Our work life and personal life became roommates.
Like many of you, I have made efforts in the last two years to reestablish homeostasis: exercise programs, motivating morning routines, purposeful social time with friends and the like. I’ve tried these things not just once, but several times, and yet nothing seems to stick. As I began to reflect on the pattern of my failed efforts, I saw a common thread: lack of consistency.
We have all heard things like “consistency is the foundation of good leadership,” “consistency drives performance,” or “consistency builds trust.” In fact, a quick Google search tells us consistency increases profitability, improves your reputation, gains cooperation, and offers stability. Some may argue that consistency is the basis of success for every other leadership behavior. If one is not consistent, the behavior falls short and the impact is blunted. The opposite is also true: consistent application of any leadership behavior is going to amplify its benefits.
If consistency is the leadership behavior of choice, how do we determine which actions and/or behaviors to focus our consistent attention on? How do we decide what our team or our company needs to best drive success?
Set a Consistent Example
When exploring consistency as a driver of good leadership, it is important to understand that our ability to lead others begins with our ability to lead ourselves. Developing good self-leadership skills — such as self-awareness, self-management, time management, and clean, clear communication — is imperative.
How we show up in one area of our lives is endemic of how we show up in other areas. Another way of thinking about this has been inspired by sociologist and author Martha Beck when she said, “how you do anything is how you do everything.” Therefore, it is reasonable when we begin developing consistent, personal habits and behaviors that we become more effective in our self-leadership. This cascades down to how we show up leading our teams and ultimately leading our organizations.
Consistent Focused Behavior
What behaviors will best support your growth and development? Becoming clear about your motivation — your WHY — informs the behaviors necessary to focus on in order to reach your goals. The behaviors you pick for yourself must be relevant to what you want to grow and develop, in alignment with your core values, and resonant with your current situation. In other words, if your goal is to increase your cardio fitness, you may choose to join a trail running club since you thrive in the wilderness and have more success achieving your goals when you are accountable to others.
An effective strategy is to choose one focused behavior from each of the following categories:
Some leaders choose to begin with self-regulatory behaviors, such as:
- Establishing morning, afternoon, or evening routines
- Regular exercise
- Nutrient consumption
- Family time
Others may lean into a personal/professional development:
- Regularly scheduled times for reading or podcasts
- Writing down thoughts and ideas
- Attending conferences
- Participating in mentoring or coaching programs.
Leaders may also look towards spiritual development, including:
- Faith-based instruction
- Reading & writing
Be mindful that progress is made when we attend to quality over quantity. It can be tempting to load your plate with multiple behavior goals, however, attempting to optimize or commit to too many behaviors will dilute your efforts and impact consistency, and consistency is the measure of success. You may consider picking a focus area from each of the categories above. For example, you may begin a morning routine that incorporates meditational writing and listening to a business-focused podcast while completing a cardio fitness workout. Or perhaps you begin a fitness program, take a leadership development course and begin each morning with a 15-minute meditation. The options to tailor your leadership development plan are limited only by your imagination.
Once you have successfully established consistent behavior and are seeing the impact of leading yourself, it is time to leverage the momentum and drive behavioral consistency with your team. The leadership strategy you will employ requires a thoughtful approach, considering your unique personal values, the organization’s values, and the needs of your team. Leadership is not a “one size fits all” proposition; be creative and have fun.
Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.
Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.
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