The leader of an organization is the standard bearer for what “right” looks like. He would not be in a position of leadership if he did not represent what the organization values and, presumably, wants more of. Naturally, followers seek to emulate the leader because of the prominent position she holds. However, what happens to an organization if, behind the scenes, the leader is a bad example of what the organization is about? What if the leader shines in front of his superiors yet treats his subordinates badly? What effect will this type of leader have on the productivity of the organization?

One way for leaders to ensure that they are presenting a good example is to focus on being consistent. In this instance, consistency means that leaders are reliable and steady in their actions, communications, and behaviors. Consistency is important because it shows people how to “act” within the context of the organization. Every follower will watch the leader for clues on how to operate in the environment.

Being consistent displays a level of reliability and steadiness that followers will increasingly come to rely on. They know how you will respond when times are good, but more importantly, they know how you will respond when times are bad. When a crisis is imminent, can your people count on you to be a steady, calm, competent and confident leader? If a leader is not consistent in his actions, communications, policies, etc., his people will be unsure of where they stand, which will cause them to become very risk averse and focus more attention on how the leader is behaving instead of focusing on the job that they should be doing.

Leaders cannot afford to be inconsistent because inconsistency breeds uncertainty; uncertainty leads to worry and concern; worry and concern result in a lack of focus and reduced performance for the organization. Consistency by a leader, on the other hand, is important because it shows people how to operate within the context of the organization. Consistency provides an environment of predictability for followers; in other words, followers know what to expect from the leader. As a leader, being predictable allows people to gain a level of “certainty” about what you will do in various situations – people must be able to read your pulse and be able to judge it accurately more often than not. Of course, no one is the same all of the time, but the key here is to be as consistent as possible.

The leader is responsible for articulating what the acceptable types of behavior are and what it means to be a member of the organization. The leader must take an active role in shaping the organization’s “look” and “feel”. This is a leadership task that should never be delegated. Inevitably, the culture will take on the personality of the leader, so the oft used cliché, “so goes the leader, so goes the organization…,” is true because followers tend to take their cues from the person at the top.

Remember, people hear what you say but most importantly, they watch what you do as a leader. For instance, followers will watch the leader to see how he responds in times of crisis or high stress. If the leader becomes frantic, overwhelmed, or resorts to lashing out at his followers, in the future his people may be hesitant to identify problems that affect the health of the organization. Your people are always watching! Your actions and behaviors will determine how they respond to you in the future.

Author's Bio: 

Vernon Myers is the founder of, a site dedicated to observing, reflecting, gaining insight, and taking action on leadership insights. I am seeking to connect with people who have ideas, insights, and leadership experiences to share.

Vernon is also the author of The Idea Journal visit his website at Get the Idea Journal to find out how to unleash your urge to create.

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