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 is the interim-CEO of Reddit, a tech company that focuses on entertainment, social networking, and news. Ms. Pao is demonstrating the leadership behavior not many men in her position would dare to demonstrate. She is not talking about equality and diversity. She is taking action to make Reddit a more diverse and an equal opportunity company.
What is Ellen Pao doing that many of her peers are not? She has eliminated salary negotiations from the hiring process. Why? Because she recognizes, 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 has hired a diversity consultant to advise Reddit. Just the thought of the word “diversity” makes many a CEO’s stomachs turns in anguish; clearly not her’s. Additionally, she is passing over candidates for advancement who are 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 is not managing diversity. She is insisting on it.
Ellen Pao is courageous and a modern example of exceptional leadership. I wish her fair winds and following seas.
© 2015 by John Boggs all rights reserved.