Consistency is the Building Block of Trust
By: P. Max Quinn, Resident Director | @PMaxQuinn
Top 5: Consistency, Achiever, Discipline, Restorative, Relator
Q1: How do you define this theme of talent for yourself?
I would define the Consistency Talent Theme as “creating and maintaining consistent relationships”. Contrary to what most people may think about the “true” meaning of the word CONSISTENCY, in Strengths language, Consistency is about creating and maintaining consistent relationships with people. It means treating people the same, and being aware of this intrinsic need to value each relationship, constantly ensuring that everyone is balanced in how they are treated and how you seek to make them feel.
Consistency also implies balance. Balance in the “rules of life”; balance in my expectations of others and ensuring that such are made clear to those important to me. I have high expectations of my students, but they know that. I have high expectations of my family, and they know that too. I hold everyone accountable to my expectations by communicating with them, and following-up on what I say I’m going to do, and following-through on promises I make. Our colleague Beth Devonshire, Director of the Office of Community Standards always says “sameness isn’t fairness and fairness isn’t sameness”. I think this really speaks to what Consistency means, and how I utilize this talent theme.
Q2: When this talent is applied, what has this theme enabled you to do in your role at BSU?
I apply this talent hourly. It is my #1 theme of talent, and it is alive and well within everything I do. From my familial relationships, to friendships and especially within the workplace, I treat everyone with respect, with a consistent appreciation, and an expectation that I hope they will treat me how I treat them. Within groups, I tend to be neutral. I try to see all sides, and to interject only when I have something to add that I feel will benefit the progress of the group. Those especially talented with the Consistency theme give each person an even chance to demonstrate their worth. Affording others unfair advantages creates dissonance for us Consistency -driven folks. We want to create equity, and to devote our loyalty to those we care about.
Q3: How is this theme of talent sometimes misunderstood?
Trust is vital. Personally speaking, and not intending to speak to all “consistency-driven” folks out there, I give everyone trust and respect. I extend this privilege to others because I hope they will do the same in return. This works well when forging new relationships and working collaboratively. However, this theme of talent may be misunderstood, or can create a conflict when someone breaches such trust. The amount of trust given depends on how reliable and how well they follow-through with what they promised they would do. When sharing things in confidence, the true test for me is whether or not I can trust that such confidence is actually kept. When I learn that someone violated such trust, I am then challenged with how consistent I can be with them and am forced to re-examine my relationship with that person to determine whether or not they deserve the continued effort that I initially intended to place into our relationship.
Q4: What are ways you have helped this talent to “mature” over the course of your career and experience?
Trust is a big theme that keeps emerging for me as I write this. Consistency -driven folks like myself may be thought to be naive in believing that everyone deserves our trust and respect. I strongly believe that everyone does deserve some semblance of my trust, and certainly my respect. How much trust though, and how much respect, well, I believe that depends on how reliable that person is over time. I am constantly evaluating my relationships to determine how much trust and respect I am willing to afford each individual. My Consistency then fluctuates based on the actions of others, how they treat me and how much I feel I can trust them. This is a theme of talent I had a hard time understanding at first. However, the more introspective I became and the more observant I tried to be really allowed me to appreciate how valuable this talent theme is, and how great of a relationship barometer it affords me.