Where Predictability Is Trust
“Oh, he's so predictable.” How often have you heard this sentiment expressed about somebody? And when it is applied to a person, it's usually not meant as a compliment, but is said pejoratively. In other words, being “predictable” is a put-down. Ironically, predictability is a trait that employees value very dearly in their managers. Not predictability in innovation and delegation, which is really a contradiction in terms, but predictability in managerial style and temperament.
You've read a lot in this chapter about listening, hearing, and understanding — in other words, communicating with your employees and connecting with them. And it all comes back to that little matter of trust. Trust and predictability go together like peanut butter and jelly. You need to be predictable in countless ways, so that your staff will know what to expect from you at all times and on any given day.
There are no big surprises in predictability. Employees feel more secure in workplaces that are stable and run by coaches who are predictable in their methods and routines (for example, what meetings are like, consistency in follow-ups, overall competency, dependability, and so on).
Trust blossoms from this general predictability. Don't say one thing and do another. Because the next time you say that you are going to do something, your employees will be less inclined to believe you. Negative snowball effects wreak havoc in office environments. You don't want a member of your staff saying, “Why should I do X, based on the coach's saying that he's going to do Y, when I don't believe that he's going to do Y?” Yes, there's much to be said for predictability in coaching. It's an essential part of a workplace atmosphere that is both stable and serene. It's a matter of trust.