The best leadership outcomes occur when a leader is consistent and reliable in terms of their style and approach, decision-making, problem-solving and communication.
This consistency comes with emotional competence and lots of practice. Character and personality are important, but leadership training and practice in effective consistent communication is the key. However the most effective leadership comes from occasionally being paradoxical – catching the audience off guard. (See Developing Management Skills – Carlopio & Andrewartha page 14.)
The real skill of course, requires knowing when to do something different that’s out of character and what is the precise behaviour that will be most effective. This requires risk taking, practice and excellent observation.
It’s interesting to reflect that leadership hasn’t changed much over the years. Leadership qualities outlined in the Tao 2000 years ago is just as crisp for leadership practice today. Elements listed included skills like ‘treat people with respect’, ‘initiate and lead by example’, ‘be diligent and prudent’.
A recent McKinsey article on this issue of leadership and fashion is worth reading.
If you would like to discuss your consistent and paradoxical leadership please contact me.