In my March newsletter I talked about the importance of consistency in leadership, and how people – both professional and personal acquaintances – respond best when your behavior is consistent. Some of the reasons consistency is so important is because it creates accountability. People learn and emulate steady, reliable behaviors and attitudes.
When you think about it, we ALL like consistency. It’s great to go to a restaurant that is consistently good, or a store that is consistently friendly. When people are disappointed, they generally avoid returning to the place/person that let them down.
So, how can you become more consistent in your thoughts and actions?
First, you must realize that consistency takes practice. If it’s not something innate in you, it’s going to take time to develop. So, start with some small consistencies first. Maybe you start by being consistent in going to bed at a reasonable hour, or hitting the gym four times a week. Or, perhaps you develop a set meeting day/time with your team and stick to it, rather than letting other things take priority.
As you work on your new schedule or attitude, have backup plans for times when you’re feeling weak. If your goal is to be more positive at work, realize that bad days are going to happen and be prepared. Find a way to calm your anger and frustration and implement that process. It may be that you excuse yourself and find a quiet place for some slow, deep breaths. Or, maybe you imagine that the thing that made you angry is some cosmic test of your willpower and if you don’t give in to it you win a big prize. If that’s what you need to stay consistent and accomplish your goals, so be it! Figure out what things trigger you most and cause you to get off track, and then have some alternative solutions ready to keep you moving forward.
Essentially, consistency is about setting and maintaining goals for how you are going to think, talk, or act. To do this requires the ability to look at the long-term benefits, and stay positive and focused. Yes, you’re going to slip sometimes. Yes, you’re going to feel like you “simply can’t do it today,” but you can. The more consistent you are in how you think, act, and do – the more you will be able to accomplish.
So, take a look at your life and fill in the blanks:
If I was more consistent in __________________________________________ I would be more successful at _____________________________________.
You may have 2, 5, 10 or more answers to this. That’s ok as it gives you a place to start, and starting is half the battle!
“Leadership can’t be fabricated. If it is fabricated and rehearsed, you can’t fool the guys in the locker room. So when you talk about leadership, it comes with performance. Leadership comes with consistency.” Junior Seau