How to start being more consistent

The cost of inconsistency

Last week I wrote about when managers are inconsistent and the impact it can have on their people like reducing effectiveness, creating misunderstandings, creating worry, stress and a lack of safety about their job. As requested, here are some thoughts on being consistent and why you might want to make a shift in how consistent you are being.

The benefits of being consistent

1st being consistent benefits both you and your team, your family, your co-workers - pretty much everyone in your life. I’ll focus on work here but, I’m sure you can see parallels in other parts of your life too. As a leader you set and are responsible for the culture - how people behave (what’s acceptable and what’s not) and get things done. So you set the example, and you “model the way” (Kouzes and Posner, The Leadership Challenge, 6th Ed, p.92). To model the way you consider what you say, what you don’t say, how you say it, your body language, your tone, your presence, how you feel and how you follow through.

How to start thinking about being more consistent

And because all of that can feel really big and maybe feel unachievable, I usually work with my clients to set a goal to be more consistent on a regular basis (rather than setting a goal to be consistent 100% of the time by the end of next week - that’s too much) and return to your consistent being more quickly, once you notice you’ve moved off of your normal consistent self.

One way to be more consistent is to notice when you are being inconsistent. Makes sense right? So who are you and how do you work when you are doing things the way you want to do them, most of the time? This is one starting point on a journey to be more consistent.

Like anything in life, we have to know where we are now, so that we know what to change, to get to where we want to be! Sometimes that’s too demanding to actually work - did you just feel a little overwhelmed, feel a pit in your stomach? No worries. The other way is to notice things you do, that don’t feel right for you. Sometimes this is an easier way to get started.

The rubber meets the road

Now, a little rule of thumb of mine for life, that I can’t take credit for, is, if it isn’t written down, it isn’t real. The essence of what I mean is that you now need to capture some detail about what wasn’t right for you. This can happen immediately if you have time or more likely, take 5 minutes before you leave for the day and write down what you noticed using the headings: what was happening (meeting, hallway conversation etc.); how did the situation make me feel; what did I do that didn't feel like me?; what might I have done / said, instead?

I have my clients do this for a couple weeks and we debrief what they have found! Then we get on to setting reasonable, achievable, motivating goals to kick-off the real learning and change!

How does that feel? Ready to get started?