Followers crave consistency. Earlier I made the assertion that a leader’s decisions define them. I recall childhood memories of my own parents, teachers I strongly liked or disliked, former bosses, celebrities I strongly admired or hated, and realize those memories are attached to moments, situations, or decisions made by them… and I connect those decisions to how I choose to remember the person.
For leaders, consistency is its own brand for followers. Whether we love or hate the individual, we all respect consistency. Consistency is transparent and creates expectation, whether positive or negative. During moments of success and moments of failure, consistency produces a familiar, almost comforting pattern of response and decision-making.
So, what do we make of inconsistency? Inconsistency from a leader is an invitation to organizational dysfunction. It sets the stage for individual agendas and selfish behavior. Inconsistency negatively impacts group buy-in and destroys opportunities for trust-building inside the teams, departments, divisions, and the rest of the organization. It lowers the bar for standards of expectation… why would anyone work, follow, or trust someone they could not depend on to have the needs of the organization drive their decision-making? Inconsistency has a strange power of being contagious. Wild swings in worker attendance, production output, volunteerism, and even charitable giving can be signs of an inconsistent presence in a position of influence. Kill inconsistency at the root!