On Being Consistent

By | October 15, 2022

[October 15, 2022]  It has been some time now since I added a “characteristic” for leaders.  How I overlooked this one – an important one at that – is still a mystery.  Being consistent as a leader is crucial for a number of reasons that I will address below.

In the Deep South back in the 1950s, baseball was at the top of the sports pinnacle; Whitey Ford, Early Wynn, Warren Spahn from that era and are just a few famous baseball pitchers … all Hall of Famers.  In those years, nearly every one of us Little League players could also throw a great pitch occasionally but what we lacked was being able to get it over the plate consistently.  Many, like me, eventually played in the outfield.

“The one thing that kids need is consistency.” – Julianne Moore, American actress

Quoting actors to make a point on leadership is like trying to tell time with a defective clock.  But occasionally they do get it right; like Julianne Moore who makes the wise observation that children need consistency in their lives.  They thrive on consistency and so do adults.  Inconsistency can make us neurotic, introverted, and unreliable.

Leaders should be consistent for many reasons.  But first it is necessary to point out that being consistent does not mean a leader lacks flexibility, boldness, courage, or any other important leader trait.  I once had a combat commander who was both consistent and bold; he was a great success and later promoted to Flag officer rank.

Here are five important reasons leaders should be consistent:

  1. Trust and confidence of a leader is derived from consistency in word and deed. It means doing the right thing every time, making good decisions and taking care of your employees … every time. This is how they earn the respect of others.
  2. Self-discipline originates from both the desire toward excellence and carrying out that desire in one’s behavior. Self-discipline is what allows us to create a mission, focus our energy there, and accomplish anything worth doing.
  3. Efficiency and Effectiveness are enhanced. There is a direct relationship between high standards, success, and discipline. When a productive leader does the right thing – and are consistent – they are also efficient and effective.
  4. It promotes honesty; a crucial leadership trait that means being straightforward with people, telling the truth, not making promises you can’t keep, and obeying the Gold Rule.
  5. It makes the leader approachable and more likely to listen to others. Good listening skills are, of course, the foundation of a genuine leader.

When I asked my Little League baseball coach why I wasn’t the team’s pitcher, he said it was because I could always catch long fly balls.  I had a good eye he said.  I was also consistent as a pitcher; I almost always threw the ball in the dirt instead of to the catcher.  My teammates liked me and trusted my skills, just not as a pitcher.

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Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “On Being Consistent

  1. New Girl #1

    I once had a boss that I could never figure out what he was doing from one day to the next. Some days he was happy, others sad. One day he would get lots of work done quickly and accurately and the next he would just sit around and do nothing. The corporate head wouldn’t do anything about it, go figure.

    Reply
    1. Veronica Stillman

      I think we all had a boss or two like that. If you didn’t, just wait.

      Reply
  2. HAL2001

    Gen. Satterfield, excellent article once again. Thanks for your “consistency” by posting every day and making sure there is good info that we can read.

    Reply
    1. Bird Man

      Yeah, thought so too. That is why I’m a fan. I know that I don’t post much but that doesn’t mean I don’t have anything so write about. I’m just the kind of person who likes to absorb what others have to say.

      Reply
  3. Ursala J. Simpson

    “Being consistent” in how you conduct yourself is an often overlooked quality of a leader. Gen. Satterfield spells out WHY this is so and makes a good argument for doing so. At least we are predictable to those we are in charge of. That is what helps draw people to our side. Anyone ever having a boss who was inconsistent with praise and punishment were horrible to work for.

    Reply
  4. Liz at Home

    Saturday morning, coming down. I always log on to this website and get a bit of good arguments to help me thru the day. My mother is alive, of course, and she is the one who really loves it but won’t comment because “it makes me look old.” Now, I don’t understand her logic but hey who cares as long as she is reading Satterfield’s blog. Hi mom. See, I got you in my comment!

    Reply
      1. Bryan Z. Lee

        Thanks Liz and we are with you on this. I only wish we all had our relatives (esp. our moms) reading this leadership blog by Gen. Satterfield. That is a way to communicate better and to lay out a good vision for how to be a good person.

        Reply
  5. Rusty D

    “Trust and confidence of a leader is derived from consistency in word and deed. It means doing the right thing every time, making good decisions and taking care of your employees … every time.” Best quote of the day from Gen. Satterfield. He is da man!! And, I have submitted this website to be the BEST leadership website of the year.

    Reply
      1. Yusaf from Texas

        — and my vote too. But we need others, please give us the site you used to submit the site. Thanks Rusty D.

        Reply
  6. Mikka Solarno

    Don’t ya just love this website. Daily entertainment and info to be a better person.

    Reply
  7. Anya B.

    Great article, thanks Gen. Satterfield, and oh BTW, I bought your book.

    Reply
    1. Valkerie

      Anya, finally, we’re all fans so read it well and join our book club.

      Reply
      1. Robo Cop II

        It doesn’t seem like much work or effort or thinking to put together a book or a leadership blog but that is not the case as we all know. From reading this blog and others, it is clear that there is a great deal of effort behind the curtain. But Gen. Satterfield makes it look easy and for that we should all be thankful. happy Saturday.

        Reply

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