Are You an Inconsistent Leader Expecting Consistent Results?

“Trying to follow our leaders is like trying to predict the weather.”

That’s how many teams describe their leadership experience when we first meet with them. They bring us in because they feel like their systems, processes, and strategies need work… But far too often, we’re able to trace a vast majority of ‘business chaos’ issues back to a chaotic leadership style.

Will their leader be sunny, stormy, or blustery? Hot, cold, or in between? They never know exactly what ‘weather pattern’ is going to walk through the door each day, so it’s impossible to show up in a way that feels consistently safe and successful.

Being led by an inconsistent leader breeds stress, confusion, insecurity, and an overall unsettled environment—things that directly undermine business performance.

The saddest part? I’ve never encountered a leader who actually wants to show up that way, breeding inconsistency and shaking their team’s faith everywhere they go.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Business leaders desperately want to lead well.

They want to feel connected to their team. To run a tight ship. To generate results that reflect strength and stability as an organization.

Most of the time though, business owners have very little training on how to lead effectively. And even if they’ve been to leadership seminars, retreats, etc., they’ve almost certainly not been coached on how to eliminate inconsistencies in their leadership style.

So how can you tell whether you’re being an inconsistent leader? Some of the most common tell-tale signs include:

  • Unclear or frequently shifting expectations. You move goalposts or hold your team members to different standards in different situations.
  • Indecisiveness. You waffle back and forth when faced with a choice, often pulling your team in multiple directions with you.
  • Communication breakdowns. You send out mixed messages that lead to your team struggling for clarity.
  • Changing or reordering priorities. Your team rarely feels like they’re working towards one defined, tangible goal. Rather, the goal shifts from week to week or month to month—not because you completed your last goal, but because your focus as a leader has shifted.
  • Reactive management versus proactive planning. You feel like you’re constantly putting out fires instead of making intentional, measured decisions.
  • Words and actions that don’t align. You say your company operates under a certain set of values and expectations, but you frequently make decisions that don’t sync up.
  • Hit-or-miss feedback, recognition, and accountability. Your team has to guess whether you’re satisfied with their performance.

The consequences of this inconsistent leadership are significant. Teams become demoralized when the goalposts keep moving and the leader’s actions are erratic or unreliable. It breeds uncertainty, lowers motivation and productivity, and creates an energy drain.

On the other hand, consistent leadership provides a firm foundation that allows teams to thrive. Showing up as a consistent leader means:

  • Your team’s confidence and trust in your leadership will increase.
  • Your team will feel more focused and stable, because they know where to put their attention each day.
  • You’ll experience improved communication with your team members, because what you’re asking of them will be anchored in strategy and predictability.
  • You’ll see dramatically faster progress towards your long-term growth goals.
  • You will eventually build a self-managing team, then department, and finally, company.

Leaving inconsistency in the dust and becoming a consistent, reliable, effective leader isn’t complicated, but it does require awareness and discipline.

Consistent leadership demands living with purpose, operating according to established principles, and mindfully aligning words with actions. It means showing up the same way, day after day, in a manner your team can always count on – and when you don’t, as we all do, cleaning it up with those team members

Is your leadership style more hot-and-cold than an early spring weather system? We’re here to help you get back on the straight and narrow.

Get started with our free assessment, “The 8 Most Common Leadership Mistakes to Avoid,” where you’ll get a realistic read on how you’re showing up as a leader—and where you might be able to improve your skills, so you can create more connection and bigger results with your team.

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