by Adam Bandelli, Managing Director of Bandelli & Associates and author of “What Every Leader Needs: The Ten Universal and Indisputable Competencies of Leadership Effectiveness“
Every leader has the ability to influence the actions and behaviors of their people. They can set a compelling vision for the future that galvanizes and inspires their workforce. They can use passion and excitement to motivate and energize people. They can garner loyalty and commitment by challenging employees to bring their best to work every day. They can set clear expectations and hold people accountable to the highest levels of performance.
Although strong leaders do all these things, the best leaders are consistent in how they show up for their people, teams, and organizations. Consistency is about character, courage, and integrity. It’s about walking the talk and modeling the right behaviors for others to follow.
There are three things that every leader must do to show up consistently. Practice these behaviors and you will have great influence and impact on your organization.
1. Get Your Guiding Principles in Order.
To lead with consistency, you first need to identify your most important values and beliefs. What are your guiding principles? Do you value affiliation? Altruism? Tradition? Recognition? Aesthetics? Find out what really matters to you. Ask yourself the following questions: What’s most important for my leadership? What beliefs did I learn growing up? What values do I want to live by today? Where have I fallen short in staying true to my core principles?
These types of questions get leaders in the right frame of mind to explore their personal belief systems. Once you have identified what matters most, you can move on to outlining what you want your team’s values to be. Consistent leaders operate from a strong base of core beliefs. These values do not change over time. They serve as the true north stars under good and bad circumstances. They help shape the actions and behaviors of the people in their organization. Remember to get clear on what’s most important to you. Your values will guide your decision-making every day.
2. Outline Your Ethical Code of Conduct.
Guiding principles are the starting point for leading with consistency. Consistent leaders also live by a strong ethical code of conduct. This is the rules of engagement for how team members are to respect each other, their customers, and others in the organization. The ethical code of conduct is different from guiding principles. The former focuses on “how” leaders will work together. The latter focuses on core beliefs of a team or organization.
For example, a team’s core value could be trust, defined as a firm reliance on the integrity, ability, and character of another person. The code of conduct that brings the value of trust to life could be: a) team members are open and transparent with each other; b) team members are honest in their interactions with customers; and c) team members respect the backgrounds and diversity of others.
So, the questions become: What is the way you want your people to behave? How do you want your employees to interact and partner with one another? What are the non-negotiables? The code of conduct needs to be something that you reinforce on a regular basis. People will quickly ignore the ethical code if there is no accountability behind it.
3. Model the Right Behaviors.
Having guiding principles and an ethical code of conduct is a great way to drive consistency. However, the best leaders consistently model the right behaviors for others. This not only applies to values and conduct; it permeates through all aspects of performance. Are you one of the first ones in the office and one of the last to leave? Do you model cooperation and teamwork? Do you build sustainable relationships by treating others with respect and dignity? Do you put in the work and effort to accomplish goals? Do you avoid taking shortcuts and quick fixes to deal with problems?
Leaders need to model the appropriate behaviors for others. You will inspire others in the greatest way when people believe that you stand for something greater than personal gain.
Great leaders do not settle for cutting corners or taking shortcuts. They practice what they preach, and this resonates with others. Modeling the right behaviors is crucial to effective leadership. You cannot influence others if they do not believe in what you stand for; if your actions are not congruent with the words that you preach.
Adam C. Bandelli, Ph.D. is the Managing Director of Bandelli & Associates, a boutique consulting firm focusing on leadership advisory services and organizational effectiveness. He is the author of the book, “What Every Leader Needs: The Ten Universal and Indisputable Competencies of Leadership Effectiveness“.