When it comes to leadership, there are two extremes when it comes to predictability.

On one hand we have those leaders who are stuck in the mud, staid and perhaps boring. You know that they’re to say before they open their mouth and they’ve been repeating the same message since you first met them.

Alternatively, there are those who are erratic, overly emotional and easily swayed by their circumstances.  You’re never quite sure what you’re going to get, and you hope that you get them on a “good” day.  If the traffic was bad on the way to work or their football team lost over the weekend, look out!

Predictability and unpredictability can both be good things if used at the right time and in balance.

If circumstances are challenging in your organisation and the pressure is intense, you want to be predictable as a leader.

You want to be able to display a measured, calm demeanour so that your people aren’t scared to approach you with bad news.  You want to encourage interactions where people feel safe, so that they can be unguarded and open with you.

Alternatively, during the good times, you should aspire to be a leader who is a little bit unpredictable.

You want to be one who generates new ideas and fosters a culture of innovation.  One who is constantly reading, learning and developing so that you can surprise your team with fresh insights and concepts that challenge the status quo, build momentum and take your people to a new level.  Think about meetings in different places, diverse guest speakers and perspectives from experts in other fields to keep everyone excited and engaged.

In short, leaders should be predictable emotionally, but unpredictable intellectually, not the other way around.

What are your thoughts?

What sort of leader are you?

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