Leader Qualities: Reliable & Consistent

(ALL RIGHTS) Elephant in Meru, Kenya, Africa © Kenneth K. CoeResearch shows there are 11 key Leader Qualities with one having a sub-set of 8 characteristics. Of the 19 Leader Qualities, 7 of them are ‘Trust Factors’. These are listed again below, together with a fuller description for a combined Trust Factor: Reliability and Consistency.The Trust Factor Leader Qualities are:

  1. Reliable & Consistent
  2. Accepts responsibility
  3. Discrete
  4. Walks the talk
  5. Authentic
  6. Supportive of individuals
  7. Interested in individuals.

Trust Factors are special because any lapse in these Leader Traits may lead to intractable relationship- and performance- issues for the leader, their team and those interacting with them.

Reliability & Consistency

These Trust Factors are combined because both are underpinned by predictability.

When it comes to Consistency of a leader, the key issue is this:

Predictable behaviours exhibited for any given situation/context

A leader will behave differently at a team update briefing compared to when dealing with urgent delays in a development project. In each case, the need of colleagues is to find these behaviours in performance ‘predictable’ in those situations. Failure to establish a set of repeated mind-sets and behaviours for work-situations unsettles colleagues – their trust is undermined. Coaching this trait typically leads to the executive asking for specific feedback from colleagues at all levels and, learning from that feedback. That learning then leads to behavioural (and observable) change. An example is Dan. He wanted and received feedback about his chairing of a Senior Management Team. One consistent trait to date was the feeling that Dan sought answers to his questions solely to gain confidence, missing areas where discussion was needed for everyone’s benefit. By adaptation and with further feedback, he was able to revolutionize the team’s reaction to his chairing.

Predictability also drives the trait of reliability. The key issue of predictability is this:

 Consistently, to meet expectations in all respects

Expectations will include aspiration about delivery, support-needs and time-management. What does the leader have to do to manage that at work? They must be clear-communicators of policy, plans and work-plans. They need to ask questions rather than make policy that is based upon gut-feeling or rationalizations. They need to involve, to receive feedback, to listen and care. Again, asking for specific feedback drives an executive’s understanding of how others see and experience them as leaders. The process can be quite painful but coaching supports this personal development over time.

Changes in behaviour can become embedded very quickly where the leader tests their learning and changes their behaviour at work and, where they experiences immediate, positive effects. The observed reactions from colleagues as well as asking for (and receiving) specific feedback, accelerate and embed their learning and help commit them to continued, practical applications of their new skills.

Embedding of behaviours can take longer. Deliberate and systematic effort may be required for a year, sometimes as much as 18 months. Most coaching engagements have finalized by that time, so how can a shorter coaching assignment adapt for that? Professional coaching is predicated on both coachee-management and coachee-responsibility for their journey. The leader’s commitment to their strategies for embedding their learning should all be in place before the coaching-journey is finalized and assessed. Interesting? Schedule a Conversation with Angus McLeod.
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