Five Ways Inconsistency Hurts Leaders

Inconsistency LeadersLet’s get it on the table from the beginning: consistency is not universally good, and inconsistency is not universally bad.  After all, as Aldous Huxley so wisely pointed out, “Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead.”  Inconsistency is part of who we are when we’re learning and growing.  And many of the leaders we dislike are the ones who are completely consistent – in a mindset that won’t budge.

A leader’s inconsistency may represent open-mindedness, inclusiveness, or acceptance of new data.  But inconsistency in leadership can also be damaging to both the leader and to those she is leading.  How can you strike the right balance? Continue reading

“There’s a Bright Future for Complexity”: The Leadership Art of Connectivity

Complexity and The Leadership Art of ConnectivityThe author of the childhood book Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White, also wrote a series of thought-provoking essays in the New Yorker magazine.  One from many years ago about increasing complexity was wittily summed up, “There’s a bright future for complexity, with one thing always leading to another.”  How prescient was that?  We live in a world with an increasing number of ‘one things’ leading to an increasing number of ‘another things’.  The internet led to social media, and social media led to governments being brought down.  Antibiotics led to cures for illnesses – and also to new illnesses.  Laptops led to virtual work and that led to computer security industries. Continue reading

Stories: Showing the Way to Leadership

leadership story tellingThink of three well-respected leaders in different careers, Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, and Jesus Christ.  All are known for a singular ability: to influence people by telling stories.

Ronald Reagan told a story in his first inaugural speech that formed a springboard into his exhortation for the nation: Continue reading

The Gift of Respite: Creating a Culture With Breathing Space

culture of respiteCarl called his two primary clients recently to tell them his wife needed serious surgery in a couple days, and he asked them to give him a few extra days to complete reports, promising to attend to the work in between periods of helping his wife through post-operative recovery.

The first client, Brigid, expressed empathy and wished his wife well, and then asked a number of questions about when she could get the delayed preliminary findings and what would be the latest he might finish the report. Carl was reassuring, but he ended the phone call feeling stress about how he’d manage everything. Continue reading