7 Steps to Becoming A More Consistent Leader
A consistent leader is a leader you can trust. By being consistent, they also provide predictability and stability – traits that create a safe culture.
Being consistent and persistent is practically second nature for some personalities while being spontaneous, adventurous, and in the moment comes easy to others. There are positives about both approaches to life. That’s why it’s important for leaders to stretch themselves. Even if you are the consistent type, you can periodically do something out of the norm and still be consistent. And if being consistent is not your thing, understanding the rewards of being more consistent and actively taking steps to embrace new habits doesn’t mean that you can ever be spontaneous.
A few years back, we completely gutted our kitchen. We were without a stove, sink, dishwasher for much longer than I had anticipated. I enjoy cooking, and in the midst of all the chaos, I was seriously itching to cook! That’s why I decided to make pancakes in my electric skillet. Let’s just say after a couple of weeks of eating dry cereal, I was smiling!
Great pancakes depend on the consistency of the batter.
If the batter is too thick, it’s difficult to pour and the pancakes will be dry. If the batter is too runny, the pancakes spread out and become unmanageable. The consistency affects the quality of the end product.
Creating the right consistency hinges on having the right combination of ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1 cup liquid, 1 egg, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and a nice dash of salt. Using this guideline, you can make all sorts of pancakes.
I chose to make a triple batch of pancakes to cook up in my electric skillet using a variety of flours, including spelt, buckwheat, Kamut®, and cornmeal. For the liquid, I used a combination of plain dairy-free yogurt and almond milk. I replaced one of the eggs with chia seeds and almond milk. If I had had more time, I might have had a little fun and added extras like diced banana, blueberries, chocolate chips, or granola.
As long as I use the right proportions of ingredients, I will end up with the desired consistency. If I deviate significantly from these proportions, it will result in a pancake flop!
What does pancake batter consistency have to do with leadership? Everything if you want to be successful! Consistency is not only the key to creating perfect pancakes, but also the key to being an effective leader – the kind people want to work for!
How can you be a more consistent leader? Consider these critical ingredients:
1. A Clear Vision
A vision provides substance for a leader just like flour is the substance for pancakes. Regardless of your leadership role – leader of an organization, business owner, ministry leader, parent, blogger extraordinaire, or just being in charge of you – having a clear sense of where you want go or what you want to accomplish makes all the difference. When your vision is crystal clear following is a breeze!
Lack of vision, on the other hand, creates confusion, diminishes trust, leads to restless followers, and even rebellion. So does an in-congruence between the vision and the actions of a leader.
Write your vision down. Keep it in front of you. Share it often!
2. Leading From Your Values
Eggs enhance the texture and hold pancakes together. You may not know it, but ground chia or flax seeds with a little milk also make great egg substitutes! Just like there is more than one way to bind a pancake, there is more than one way to connect everything together as a leader. Everyone brings a different set of values to their leadership.
Do you know what your top five values are? What are the top five values of your organization? Have you captured your values in writing? How clearly and consistently are you communicating your values and/or the values of the organization with those you lead?
3. Operating at a Slow and Steady Pace
Being fired up and enthusiastic about a plan is energizing, unless you are speeding ahead of your team and leaving them all in the dust!
Carrying out a plan in fits and starts will frustrate your people and potentially even cause them to disengage.
However, introducing a plan at a consistent slow and steady pace will increase the odds of making the plan a reality. That’s the kind of person that attracts followers!
The proper pace is like the perfect amount of liquid in your pancake batter.
4. Taking Time to Focus
I like to make a big batch of pancakes and then refrigerate the leftovers to be cooked later. I think pancakes get better over time; however, the pancake batter often thickens. Before cooking the pancakes after day or two later, I evaluate whether or not more liquid is needed.
5. Having A Support System
Fat-free has been trendy, and while it’s possible to make pancakes without adding any fat, they definitely aren’t as tasty!
And it’s possible to reach your goals on your own, however, having a friend, family member, or coach in your corner will increase your effectiveness, speed up the process, and be a more delightful experience.
I frequently hear from leaders that they feel isolated. I hear similar frustrations from entrepreneurs or solopreneurs.
Who is supporting you? How can you consistently check in with them? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a sounding board and someone to celebrate your successes with you?
6. Modeling a Self-Controlled Lifestyle
Don’t be fooled! People are watching how you handle yourself when it comes to work/life balance, healthy habits, honesty, as well as your overall character. Lacking consistency in your personal life bleeds over into how you lead. Your ability to lead yourself well gives you credibility and increases the confidence others have in you as a leader.
Just like the right amount of salt enhances the flavor of a pancake, your leadership will be more palatable when you manage you well. In the same way, diminishing habits like micromanaging, demanding perfection, etc., or poor personal habits like working out sporadically can leave bad taste behind like too much salt.
7. Spending Time Daily With God
Baking powder is what gives “lift” to a pancake, and without time with God your leadership will fall flat. It has been said that we become like those we spend time with. There isn’t anyone more consistent than God!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
If you struggle with consistency, make time connecting with God your first priority! Without Him your efforts are in vain. Ask Him to help you be more consistent – He’s eager to assist when you depend on Him. With Him leading and helping it changes everything.
When it comes to producing the perfect pancake or being a leader that others want to follow, consistency is a game changer!
Where do you need to be more consistent? What would you be able to accomplish if you were more consistent?
Originally posted in 2014. I’ve updated and revised it. Enjoy!
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / frannyanne