Mike Rankin over at InDesign Secrets has a great article describing the inconsistent leading problem, why it happens and how to fix it.
If you keep your InDesign Character and Paragraph panels open on your screen at all times, you’re wasting a lot of space. The Control Bar across the top of the window displays virtually everything you see in the dedicated panels in a much more concise space while still keeping it all easily accessible to you when you need it. The trick is making it convenient to switch between the two if you have a smaller monitor.
On a 24″ LCD, InDesign will display the entire Character and Paragraph panels in the Control Bar at once (providing you have it set up to do so). But on smaller laptop screens, it cuts off much of it. But there is an easy way to switch between Character and Paragraph in the Control Bar. Simply hit Command + Option + 7 to switch between them at any time.