Inconsistency is a huge stumbling block to personal and professional success. It’s also a silent killer when it comes to growing and maintaining a business.
Take yourself back to a time when you were a young child. I’m sure most of you can remember a time when our parents told us we couldn’t have something, only to go ahead and have it themselves. Perhaps you were a curious child who wanted to try a drag of a parent or grandparent’s cigarette? At that age, you didn’t understand why mom promptly said “No, they’re bad for you,” only to turn around and light up in front of you herself.
Bear with me…
The cigarette analogy can be replaced with whatever memory serves you and your unique childhood. The point is, you can probably remember getting angry, thinking how unfair it was for you to be denied a thing or experience because it was “bad” or “dangerous” and then glumly watch on as an adult indulged in the very thing they denied you.
They were being inconsistent. Saying one thing, doing another. Not “practicing what they were preaching”.
In your adult life, you’ve probably realized how important it is for you and those you respect in this world to be consistent in the way you and they do things. To hold true to the values we all preach, the standards we set for others, to treat people as we expect or outright demand to be treated, and to follow company policy to the letter unless there’s a universal agreement that something should be changed. Being inconsistent can make people see you as everything from narcissistic to downright weak-minded.
Here’s a few tips for being more consistent and thus, improve the way you’re perceived by others in the workplace.
Manage Your Mood
There’s no excuse for being moody or downright rude and belligerent towards others — EVER! This often comes down to impulse and one’s lack of controlling it. Know your triggers and learn how to take a deep breath before you blurt hurtful things out, or shoot dirty glances at people who make you angry. Maybe it’s not even them, perhaps things aren’t going right at home or socially. It doesn’t matter. Once you’re perceived as moody, you can’t be trusted to a certain extent. Whether you work in management or administration, an inconsistent mood makes you unapproachable, unpredictable — perhaps even unemployable!
Treat Everyone the Same
Favoritism, even if you favor the same people consistently, still equals inconsistency. Those you favorite may see you as a phony bologna when they see you treating “Dirty Sal” like a piece of refuse (even if he smells like one!) In that same vein, Sal certainly won’t think very much of you either, seeing how nice you are to others but not to him. This doesn’t have to translate to your personal life, but in the office everyone deserves the same level of kindness, attention, and professional courtesy as needed.
Hold True to Yourself
One of the easiest ways to deviate from consistency is to let our emotions get in the way of beliefs, values, standards and accepted company processes you set for your self or are required to follow. Again, whether a manager or a simple office drone, we all have to practice the values and beliefs we’re constantly preaching to others. And definitely don’t allow yourself or accept others drifting into “grey areas” when it comes to company policy. Maintain your resolve in all situations. If you don’t like profanity, demand that people not use it when they’re around you and NEVER do it yourself. If you’re a manager who claims to not tolerate tardiness, never make an exception without empirical proof of a life-or-death emergency that prevented someone from showing up on time.
People don’t have to love the fact that you’re a consistent person. But they’ll always respect you for it.