Consistency is essential to leadership, production and growth. It creates momentum and generates credibility. Consistency in your actions, particularly in your dealings with those you lead, will convey a sense of stability and reliability your team can count on. As a leader, it creates accountability – and accountability is a two-way street. If you consistently hold your employees accountable, they will expect it and will typically push harder to effectively accomplish what they’ve been asked to do. But, they will hold you accountable as well, and will be watching to see if your actions are in harmony with your words.
With consistent behavior and effort in whatever you and your team are trying to achieve, your chances of success will be far greater. You must lead by example so that others are not only accountable to you, but to themselves. Employees respond best when you predictably provide the information they need, being systematic in your approach to the various behavior types in terms of tone of voice, body language, and the like. Their standards will be just a little higher because they know you will let them know whether their work elicits accolades or criticism. When they see you regularly holding yourself to the same standard as you hold them, they will want to inspire your accolades!
Parents know how crucial consistency is to raising children, and dog-trainers have been known to fire their human clients for not regularly following their instructions! Young children and pets learn best when boundaries are established, guidelines are applied and consequences are identified – consistently, and without variation. And, a systematic approach in both discipline and encouragement shows them what to expect, which creates a safe environment in which to develop. The workplace is not so different. Consistency usually points to control and organization rather than chaos. This helps to make employees feel more comfortable. Constant change is often disruptive in the workplace and causes stress and reduced productivity.
When a leader communicates clear goals that are attainable and measurable, and employees know what to expect in terms of accountability, then increased productivity is highly likely. Providing encouragement and constructive feedback is an important part of this process as well. When an employee is not performing in a steady manner and, consequently, cannot be relied on, both the leader and employee have to take action. The best scenario is one in which the employee discovers the solution on his own, and identifies the steps necessary for improvement.
Productivity is about people working hard and also working smart. This means business processes and operations absolutely must be orderly. And, when changes are necessary, they should be implemented consistently for an appropriate amount of time in order to properly evaluate their efficacy. Otherwise, there is no true measure of the benefit of a new procedure, and it might be deemed a failure based on faulty practices. Often it just takes time and practice to reap the benefits of something new.
Take a look around you at work and at home and even in your relationships. It may surprise you to learn that a fair amount of inefficiency and miscommunication has to do with lack of consistency. Knowledge is power, so it’s up to you to use it.