It’s sometimes hard as a leader to remember that your team is constantly observing your actions and listening to your words. Constantly. This means that being as consistent as possible in your behavior is critical to facilitating a safe and productive environment.
It is important to reflect on how you act in the workplace and what messages your behavior communicates to the team. Do you encourage feedback on some occasions but shut people down other times because you’ve already decided on something? Do you laugh and joke some days, but then snap, snarl and bite the heads off of any who dare come close on others? Consistent and respectful behavior goes far in facilitating trust and open communication — even when you’ve already decided what you want to do or have had a bad day.
Being consistent also means being predictable and avoids sending mixed messages to your team. How can you be more predictable? Letting the team get to know you by talking to them about what type of person you are, what you believe in and how you like to operate is a great first step. Ensuring you’re consistently actively listening while others express their thoughts and recommendations also helps create a safe environment where others can express themselves without fear of criticism or ridicule. You can also be more self-aware of and temper your mood and body language. Remaining calm, cool and respectful, even if you are in a bad mood or under stress, sends a consistent message to your team that you are upset about circumstances, not them.
Remember, your words and actions have meaning and send messages to others —just make sure you're not sending mixed messages!