Consistent behavior is a must-have

Humans like predictability, especially when it comes to the behaviors of people in their lives, and consistent behavior is a must-have.

Think about someone in your life, whether at work or home, whose behavior is not predictable. You don’t know how they will react to a similar situation from one day to the next. Some days they handle it fine, and other days they fly off the handle.

If this unpredictability happens occasionally, you can usually chalk it up to a bad day or stress. But when their unpredictability is consistent behavior, it causes undue stress on those around them. 

Behavior change is always a part of leadership development

This came up in a recent discussion in a cohort going through a leadership program I co-facilitate.

One cohort member was given feedback that he wasn’t warm enough. He started experimenting with being warmer when his direct reports presented him with challenges. The issue was he shifted his behavior too far.

Rather than a slight shift, his level of warmth was off the charts. As you can imagine, this shift was unsustainable, not allowing for consistent behavior.

He then reverted to his low warmth approach, which caught the team members off guard.

After a few days of this, he remembered he was trying to shift his behavior and became overly warm again, confusing his team even more. And the cycle continued. The team didn’t know day-to-day which boss was going to show up. They created processes to work around this scenario leading to unneeded energy spent and productivity lost. There were a lot of lessons here:

  • Adding some warmth to his interactions with his direct reports was needed for this leader to foster more connection with his team.
  • When shifting behavior, we look at it regarding the degree of change. Too much change too quickly is unsustainable. 
  • Humans crave consistency. Consider this when you decide how to bring your team into your development shifts. See our latest blog on how to do this!

Consistent Behavior is key

It removes uncertainty and is a building block of trust. Think about it: Is your team spending unnecessary energy and losing productivity because they are too busy figuring out how you will react?

If not you, what about another leader on your team?