‘Safely’ cocooned in the UK dealing only with the potential of Brexit, across the pond some interesting developments in politics are unfolding in the run up to the 2016 US presidential election.
This hashtag started trending earlier this year as seemingly Hillary had contradicted herself on a number of occasions which left voters confused. National Review have some interesting examples of these contradictions. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430056/hillary-clinton-scandals-finances-hypocritical
It’s been fascinating to see how the public have grabbed hold of this (helped along by some staunch Republican campaigners) at one point there were over half a million posts on this subject alone.
Outside of politics #WhichHillary has put the spotlight on an important leadership theme.
Consistency of thought and deed
There is so much written about key traits of leadership and my intent is not to rehash that. Everyone has their own definitions of what traits make an amazing leader but there is universal agreement that one key trait is consistency.
Consistency in leadership gives you respect and credibility. It enables people to trust you – knowing that you will always do what you say you are going to do.
We have all at some point in our careers worked for an inconsistent leader. Behaviours we may have seen include:
- ‘Sitting on the fence’
- Indecisiveness in decision making
- Frequent changing of key decisions
- Agreeing in public and dissenting in private
- Placing the blame on others (usually their boss!) for unpalatable decisions
All of these behaviours lead to a lack of trust which can over time erode a team and the relationship with their leader.
Leaders can change their minds
I am not suggesting that as a leader you have to follow through on everything you say just because you fear the label ‘inconsistent’.
It is about taking your teams with you. If you know you have taken a strong position on a subject and members of your team have strongly objected for example, if you suddenly change your mind with no explanation this can damage the relationship you have with your team.
We are human beings, allowed to change our minds and fundamentally no one is perfect. What was appropriate yesterday may not be right for tomorrow. However what makes a difference is our ability to do the following:
- Articulate the why
- Openly acknowledge the concerns/objections that were raised by your team or others
- Take responsibility for our decisions each and every time.
I don’t get it right every time but the #WhichHillary campaign has definitely given me pause for thought.