If you truly wish to be a better leader, be consistent – in your behavior, your treatment of others, and in your expectations of everyone on your team.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Consistency, or what you “repeatedly do”, is one of the fundamental characteristics and values of those who lead by example, as all of the best leaders do. Successful leaders practice what they preach and are constantly mindful of their actions. They know everyone is watching them and are intuitive about tracking who’s observing their every move, waiting to detect an incongruent or inconsistent move.

Inconsistent behavior, such as choosing favorites, will lead to dissention among the ranks and a loss of respect or trust. Watch out for the “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality.

For example, I believe that NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is a better leader than many of his coaches have been. He has been consistent in the way he treats others. Even as various coaches have shown favoritism toward Manning for his exceptional skills and work ethic, he has treated his teammates and other coaches with the respect they deserve, basing his feedback and relationships on who they are, how they behave, and for the talents they possess.

Manning does not play favorites. He does not expect favoritism. He works just as hard, if not harder, than most on his team. He treats others not just equally – but as equals – which garners him the respect of teammates, coaches, owners, and fans across the league and the country.

He is also accountable, to himself and to others. It is this type of consistent behavior that makes Peyton Manning an exceptional leader, moving him beyond a “merely” great athlete.

Are you a consistent leader? Do you value consistency as a leadership tool? How did you learn the value of consistency and how has it helped you to be a better leader?