Life Under a Microscope

Quote of the Week

“Firmness of purpose is one of the most necessary sinews of character, and one of the best instruments of success. Without it genius wastes its efforts in a maze of inconsistencies.”
Philip Dormer Chesterfield

Life Under a Microscope

by Peter R. Wilkinson, PhD

I am amazed that some leaders and managers think they can ‘do their thing’ and no one will notice. The actual situation is that people who work for leaders and managers have them under a microscope 24-7, watching everything they say and do. Subsequently, as soon as a leader or manager does anything inconsistent with what they said they were going to do, it is immediately noticed, and a ‘chink in the armor’ becomes apparent. With the ‘chink in the armor’ comes a loss of trust and respect. Exacerbating this situation is the fact that as soon as the ‘chink in the armor’ appears, the word spreads like wildfire as everyone discusses it.

Therefore, if you are a leader or manager, you are the model, all the time, in all circumstances. Thinking you can ‘get away’ with some inconsistency is foolhardy (Wilkinson, 2008, p. 154).

From: Wilkinson, P.R. (2008). Aha: insights for effective leadership and management. Baltimore: Publish America.

Reprinted with permission from the OSU Leadership Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, (614) 292-3114,

Coaching Call to Action

Think of a time you have observed a manager of your’s being inconsistent. What was the impact on you? Think of a time you have been inconsistent in your leadership/management role. What was the impact on you? On others? As a result of taking the time to do this exercise, what change will you make this week?