Being the Leader is Cool – Being Resilient & Fair, Firm, Consistent

In Being the Leader is Cool – Modeling, Vision and Guiding Principles we’ve covered understanding leadership responsibility through being what you expect others to be, having a vision and sharing it, and a personal guide. Next up:

  • Being Resilient – have the courage to stay the course
  • Fair, Firm, Consistent – leaders need to be all three to maintain trust and respect

Being Resilient

Being a leader often feels like one is participating in a full contact sport without a helmet or pads. It requires courage.

Being courageous is often mistaken for having the chutzpah to face physical danger.

Courage, true courage, is having the mental quality that recognizes the fear of danger or criticism but enables a person to proceed in the face of it with calmness and confidence.

Ellen Pao is courageous. She was the interim­ CEO of Reddit, a tech company that focuses on entertainment, social networking and news. Ms. Pao demonstrated the leadership behavior not many men in her position would dare to demonstrate. She did more than talk about equality and diversity. She took action to make Reddit a more diverse and an equal opportunity company.

What did Ellen Pao do that many of her peers did not? She eliminated salary negotiations from the hiring process. Why? Because she recognized, as we all know, too often women end up with less pay for the same work, the negotiation process in terms of pay simply has not worked well for talented women.

She boldly hired a diversity consultant to advise Redditt when even the mere thought of the word “diversity” makes many a CEO’s stomach turn in anguish. Additionally, she passed over candidates for advancement who were not committed to gender and racial diversity. I would offer that if you are managing diversity, you have a problem. I suggest that Ms. Pao was not managing diversity. She insisted on it.

Ellen Pao is courageous and a modern example of exceptional leadership.

Remember, you are modeling the way. Are you courageous?

Fair, firm, consistent

I first heard the phrase: fair, firm and consistent as a young Marine lieutenant. It was rested out in simple terms because it is such a difficult thing to do.

Fair, I have heard is a relative term. No, it is not.

Fair – treat everyone the same.

Firm – hold your ground. Right is right, and no declaration is required. Wrong is wrong; admit it and move on.

Consistent – Leaders do not have the luxury of coming in one day and being happy as a lark and the next day mean as a snake. No one cares that the leader may have had a lousy evening. It does not matter. What matters is that the leader projects a consistent picture of calm, professional leadership to his or her employees.


Being a leader is cool. It is also demanding. Leading requires you to be the example for others to follow. Leading is being able to provide a vision to inspire others to do more than they ever imagined possible. Leaders establish the line of right and wrong by living their guiding principles. Leaders have the courage to demand what is right and hold their ground in the face of adversity. Leaders are fair, firm and consistent. In short, leading is producing trust.

You have read this far. Keep going. Put to use what you learn. Reread these blog posts if you must. Without fully grasping what it means to use the concepts…

  • Modeling
  • Vision
  • Guiding Principles
  • Being Resilient
  • Fair, Firm, Consistent

…you run the risk of floundering.

Don’t stop now!

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