A couple weeks ago I saw an interesting article about Google’s study on leadership, and what were the most important qualities of a leader. The findings were somewhat surprising, but they made sense. Turns out that inspirational speaking, organizational acumen and fanatical work ethic are all second (or third) fiddle to the most important quality: consistency. A consistent leader is a good leader. It’s more important to be able to count on the guy in charge than to be inspired by him.
A consistent leader gives his team space to innovate, create, and perform. In the absence of consistency people are hesitant and protecting of their own turf, and that makes the whole organization slow down and become inefficient. It’s one of the things I’ve never been very good at as a leader. I’m big on the heroic act, much less focused on just showing up every day and doing my job well, though it’s something I’ve tried to work on.
Apropos of this, I was playing basketball Friday. I do that, three times a week, with a rotating but mostly recurring band of brothers. As happens, we have nicknames for each other.
One of those nicknames is “Friday Damon”, for the guy that always seems to be red-hot on Friday, for some reason. We were late in the morning, finishing up game number nine or ten, where we had been playing for an hour and a half, more or less without pause. Once, a long time ago, I was a scorer and a slasher, the primary option on my team. Those days are gone. Mostly, now, my role is mucker, cleaning up rebounds, hitting holes on the baseline, taking the occasional three-pointer. It’s a role that requires a huge amount of effort on every play, an effort I try very hard to make.
On this particular play, Friday Damon had missed the shot – one of the few he missed that day – and I had good box out, got the rebound, and put it back in. One of the guys laughed (I’m not very tall) and said “Everyday Chris”. I like that – anything where I get the reputation for being an everyday reliable guy, I like. A few minutes later, though, he grabs me and says “I think I’m going to go with Chrisistent instead.”
Being a grasshopper, consistency is a problem for me, so I was very gratified by this. Heck, it hit several good notes – consistent, persistent, insistent, resistant. These are qualities I’ve never had associated with me. Now, the fellow doing the nicknaming is a very decent guy, so that surely has something to do with it. But I’m hopeful all the same. Nobody argued with him.
I sure hope it’s a trend.