Consistency a key element in executive presence
Why consistency is a vital part of cultivating gravitas
Consistency is consistently overlooked when developing leadership skills
Oscar Wilde said: “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” Consistency can get a bad rap. Very often being consistent is seen as synonymous with lacking creativity or being dull. In an era where disruption is in vogue, some core elements can get overlooked. But disruption, innovation and consistency are not mutually exclusive.
The reality is that the reverse can be true. One of my observations about what makes people stand out as potential leaders is exactly that. Consistency. In a good way. If they commit to doing something, they do it. By the deadline they agree to. They turn up, on time. They follow through and respond. Their moods and the way they communicate are consistent. Their interaction is tempered and measured and they avoid emotional and mercurial confrontations. Anyone who encounters a sharp comment, or a displeased look will understand well that they are out-of-order.
Consistency is a vital part of building a strong career. It is also a fundamental component of gravitas, that elusive quality that everyone searches for. Many people think that it is unachievable and out of their reach. The reality is that it is built up from small daily (good) habits.
Consistency is the basis of a good reputation.
Consistency helps you build up a track record. If you perform erratically it’s difficult to track how well or how poorly you performed over time. You communicate your expectations to your team and they are clear about what that means. There is no second guessing your intentions. You have clear goals and values which are apparent to the people around you.
Zoë is a Communications Director. She has a small team. The business is under pressure and she is very stressed. Last week she yelled at one of her reports in an open plan office because he had failed to meet her expectations. He doesn’t have a job description. She spent a day dealing with the fallout, which was 20% of her working week.
Consistency communicates your message
The people around you will pay attention to what you do as much as what you say. If you are always late for meetings it sends a message that they are not important. You should not be surprised if your reports also become unreliable and disrespectful of people’s time. If anyone walks on egg shells around you, unsure of how you will react, then you are already in difficulty.
Daisy works in Learning and Development. She is a perfectionist and struggles to manage her workload because she likes to make sure things are “right.” She finds keeping up with her email workload a challenge and has been known to miss meetings all together. She is regularly late. She thinks she is not taken seriously by her peers and can’t understand why any instructions she sends out are ignored. She is frustrated with the “system” for this and frequently mentions the corporate culture. She is considered difficult to work with.
Consistency builds trust
When you have a good track record, people know they can count on you. Reliability builds trust. You can be relied on to do all the things you commit to doing. There will be an unshakable belief that you are the right person achieve goals and targets. When people see you are trustworthy, they will be drawn to you. Success attracts success and is the basis of gravitas.
Both Daisy and Zoë are currently struggling to earn the trust of the people who are vital to their career success and achieving their goals.
Consistency builds self-confidence
A consistent message, a strong reputation and loyal team are a great foundation for building a solid career or even your own business.
It’s always the small things that matter most.
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