How are you affecting the culture of consistency within your organization?
Much has been written about trust and leadership. Leaders can’t expect to have followers if they themselves are not trustworthy. Leaders know this. And they know that they want trustworthy employees. Who wouldn’t want trustworthy employees?
And yet, leaders typically fail to be trustworthy in three ways:
1. Leaders assume that they must earn trust and their paychecks by making great decisions — decisions that they authored themselves — behind closed doors, almost magically.
Exceptional leaders use questions 70 percent to 80 percent of the time to increase alignment, engagement and accountability among their co-workers. These leaders know that people like to be asked for their input, not told what to do.
People enjoy work far more when they aren’t being micromanaged, and they tend to do their work far better. In these trusting workplaces, employees don’t want their leaders to make huge decisions alone. They want to provide input and receive evidence that they’ve been heard, even if they understand the leader is the one to make the final decision.
2. Leaders fail to be trusting of others
The value of question-based leadership is greatly compromised 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.
Coworkers 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.
3. Leaders aren’t consistent with their trust
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.
Leaders may understand the importance of consistency in their own actions, but they may not fully understand the importance of addressing the inconsistency in others’. 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…and less trustworthy.
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?