Are You Predictable?

Keep Changing Your Style of Doing Things

This is something you seldom read about. Rather, the general assumption seems to be the opposite—consistency, transparency, integrity (deduced from predictable behavior), open-book and open-heart management, etc.

But the more predictable you are for your people, the more likely they are to fall into complacency. They’ve got you figured out. To keep them in the learning mode, to enhance their level of engagement with you and their work, it may be useful to “keep changing your style of doing things.”

The less predictable you are, the more attentive people have to be to figure out what you mean by what you say.

If a person knows what he wants the boss to say, then he knows what to say to get that response. If he isn’t sure how to predict his response, then that’s a game he cannot play. Performance trumps mere conversation every time. The leader has to decide what needs to be accomplished, who is involved, and what the other circumstances are. So he has to keep changing his style of doing things simply because the realities of the situation call for that level of adaptation.

It isn’t about who the leader is. It’s about what gets accomplished, and what is required of the leader to arrive at that accomplishment.

-Lee Thayer, Thought-Leader