Leadership books, blogs, and journals constantly stress the importance of trust. If you’re not trustworthy, they say, why would anyone follow you? While trustworthiness is certainly very important as a leader, it’s also very important that YOU trust your co-workers.
Exceptional leaders use questions 70 to 80 percent of the time to increase alignment, engagement, and accountability among their co-workers. The value of question-based leadership is greatly compromised, though, if leaders don’t trust their coworkers. If there’s no trust, then every answer the leader receives will be clouded with suspicion or judgment. Co-workers are quick to pick up on this distrust and the quality and honesty of their answers may very well dip downward. The leader’s questions will ring hollow in their ears.
This post begins a 7-part series on Trust, each one focusing on one of the 7 C’s: Capability, Commitment, Capacity, Connection, Commonality, Character, and Consistency. Today’s focus is Consistency.
Consistency is demonstrated by a strong track record of predictable (and largely successful) actions. Such consistency allows others to have a firm sense of you, such that they can predict your decisions and behavior. The more consistent and reliable you are, the more others are apt to trust you and your work.
This post is about trusting co-workers, so let’s focus on them. If a co-worker is inconsistent in delivering on his promises and responsibilities, how likely are you going to believe his answers? Not very, right? In some ways, that’s the least of your concerns.
When you accept inconsistency, you risk spreading a virus of mediocrity within your organization. You will begin to ask less because of low trust, and you’ll begin to work around those you see as inconsistent, which will create an off-balance work environment for those who deliver consistently. As a result, YOU will become inconsistent as a leader.
When faced with inconsistency, you must act to change that outcome with training or removal. Or risk infection.
How are you affecting the culture of consistency within your organization? Are you driving for that expectation? If not, how might that be undermining your leadership?
Other Blog posts that may interest you:
Leadership Style Assessment – What leadership style are you?