Tenet #2: Be Consistent
Consistency is key to great leadership. Moody managers and managers who play favorites will never become leaders. Favoritism is the easiest way for a leader to fall from grace. But being a consistent leader is also an easy way to gain respect and confidence among your subordinates.
Consistency is not easy. It requires you to put aside your personal feelings, personal life, and your general human tendencies to show favoritism.
When I was the Director of a contact center, we had over 200 employees. Not only did I have to be consistent myself, I had to instill consistency in all 14 of the management staff. This was tough as most of them had risen through the ranks rather than being brought from outside like I had been. I was asking people to put aside their feelings about co-workers and to create an atmosphere of consistency. We definitely struggled with this, but the best way we got it across to them was that I had to have that consistency myself (refer to Tenet #1, Lead By Example).
It’s very easy to get sucked into favoritism. You have an employee who always puts forth the extra effort and shows up early, and at the end of the day you want to reward them for that performance, but if you show them additional favoritism, or laud them too much, you begin to set a lesser standard for the others. They begin to say, “why should I try harder when Jimmy always gets the special attention?” This can spread like a virus throughout the staff.
If you allow someone to be held to a lesser standard, for example, allowing them to take an extra sick day, or not to meet performance standards, you have both allowed them the opportunity to lower their standards of performance and conduct, but also set up everyone else who observed to lower performance since they see someone else doing it.
Consistency of Mood
Consistency of mood is important as well. Leaders don’t have bad days. The key to instilling consistency in those around you is to be the same every day and the same leader to each person. If you feel yourself starting to have a change in mood, then take a moment, close your door and listen to a piece of music that lifts you. As you gather more followers you will realize that your mood becomes their mood. It is important to realize this. People look to you for guidance and direction, and you have to have that consistency if you expect it of them.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t find the individual motivating factors that each person desires in order to inspire them, but it does mean that you treat everyone equally and that the rules apply to everyone equally. Your mood becomes the constant to which others hold themselves, and becomes their constant.
As I stated before, if you do feel that you are having a moment, it really helps to remove yourself for a moment and find your “center” if you can. Yes, it all sounds touchy-feely, but you must find that one activity or exercise that brings you to your consistency. Mine is a piece of music called “Die Moldau” by Smetana. Basically this piece of classical music is about a babbling brook that becomes a river, and as I listen I try to grasp the vision of standing near the water on each turn it takes. After a few minutes I find myself back to the center and ready to take on the challenge. Find your trigger and you too will find a way to get that consistency.
The next topic will be Tenet #3: Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say. Stay tuned.