For Goodness' Sake Be a Consistent Leader!
One of the important but often overlooked traits of a good leader is consistency. There is absolutely no faster way of confusing and disheartening an employee than to place him/her* under a fickle and inconsistent supervisor. I know, I’ve been there.
Of the many areas in which it is important for you, as a supervisor striving to be a leader, to be consistent, the following three are perhaps most crucial. First, a good supervisor strives to be consistent in his communication. As a new supervisor or when you have new employees placed under your supervision, face to face interaction is of utmost importance. So, try to balance your electronic communication with personal interaction, at least initially. It will set the tone and earn the trust of those you supervise.
Second, a supervisor who desires to be a real leader will want to be consistent in his expectations. Lay them out clearly. Write them down, if you need to. Whatever you do, don’t be a supervisor that is impossible to please because eventually those reporting to you will quit trying.
Third, supervisors that are good leaders understand the importance of consistent application of the discipline process. Though this may not be your favorite part, you have to understand that disciplining an employee comes with the territory. When it comes to disciplining, if I may offer just one advice, it would be this – conduct it in a private setting. We’ve all been an unwilling party to a disciplining process gone bad, when either an uncouth parent or uninformed supervisor engages in a public display of humiliation, somehow thinking that they’ve just accomplished something. In reality, they have instead embarrassed the one they chastised with no real change in behavior (who can focus on figuring out what behaviors to change when all they can think about is how to make themselves instantly invisible), evidenced their own incompetence, and forcibly entangled innocent bystanders in their mess. You don’t want to humiliate an employee but to try and influence change when an employee fails to meet performance standards. The key to effective discipline is understanding that the focus of it is not to seek a revenge but to influence future performance. You obviously will want to make sure that you know your company policy regarding how to handle discipline cases, including progressive discipline and escalated situations.
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