The ABC’s of Leadership (Day 21): Uniform
The law of sacrifice is uniform throughout the world. To be effective it demands the sacrifice of the bravest and most spotless. (Mahatma Ghandi)
Day 21 – ‘U’
People are watching. And, more of them are talking, and sharing about what they see. Transparency, and trust, are essential for strong leadership. But, how do you get achieve, and sustain, both qualities?
While leadership is a verb, today’s keyword is an adjective. Merriam-Webster defines uniform as ‘consistent in conduct or opinion’ – you’re the same person in private, and public. No matter where you go, or who you interact with, you are the same.
Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all. (George Washington)
In fact, David Shedd’s Business Insider article ‘3 Areas Where Consistency from a Leader is Critical’ identifies uniform behavior as the 2nd most key item. “[T]he biggest [mistake] that a leader can make…[is] being inconsistent – inconsistent in mood, inconsistent in behavior, inconsistent in how a leader makes decisions. This inconsistency breeds fear and uncertainty.”
So what does uniformity achieve? It promotes positive behavior in your organization. Leaders need to be, and live, the change and values they want.
Being uniform is critical to leadership. Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman’s research (noted in the Harvard Business Review article ‘Research: 10 Traits of Innovative Leaders’) cites three key benefits of uniform leadership: 1) Establishes a climate of trust; 2) Reinforces a culture of doing what’s right for stakeholders; and 3) candid communication. Absent these values, your leadership is likely lacking the impact you hope.
Want more on leadership? Check out my partner Dale Richardson’s thoughts in his Live the Goals podcast here!
“The ABC’s of Leadership” is a web series highlighting principles of leadership.
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