Leadership 101: Consistent, Fair, Explainable

Several years ago a mentor shared his business plan with me.  In part of it he wrote something he called a STAND.  When I asked what that was, he said it was knowing what you stand for before you are faced with a situation and have to make a choice.

consistent, fair and explainable

I’ve shared part of his leadership wisdom and how it impacted me in this previous Smart Blog Post:  Why Leaders Need To Practice Compassionate Accountability

For the past several weeks I’ve been focused on another part of his STAND:  “To Be Consistent, Fair, and Explainable in all that I do”.

These are some of the reasons those words are resonating with me again:

I’ve been studying the impact of parents that have a favorite child that is t treated differently than the others.  It’s an ugly situation for everyone.  ….Even the favored child.

I’ve been thinking of times I’ve witnessed a boss becoming close friends with some of their employees and how that broke down trust with other employees.  (Even if both the boss and the employee were holding each other to a higher level of accountability, the perception of unfairness was still there.)

I know an executive that is struggling because he makes hard fast rules that sound powerful in his office, however when the rules are challenged or violated that executive avoids confrontation at all costs.

  • The executive’s employees don’t want to enforce any rules because they know that no matter what they do they can’t win.  If they enforce the rules, someone will challenge the executive, he will back down and their energy is wasted, and if they don’t enforce the rules the executive will be frustrated and take it out on them.  It’s a lose/lose situation.
  • At the same time that executive is constantly frustrated because no one owns what he won’t.

As I’m pondering those three words and those situations I am also thinking of examples where people are trying hard to be consistent, fair and explainable:

  • When they have been given some of the information, but not all of it.
  • When there is historical frustration among the people they serve – even if they aren’t the cause.
  • When emotions are masking the historical pain.
  • And when negative attitudes are contagious.

Today I’m a little tired because I’ve been engaged in an internal battle: 

  • Where my vision of living those words: Consistent, Fair and Explainable has collided with a real life situation filled with emotion and negative attitudes.

And I’m realizing how much energy it takes to live the words of that STAND.  ..To seek first to understand.  …To ask more questions.  …To listen again.  …To explain again. … To look for a solution instead that isn’t obvious, instead of just saying no.  …To offer grace when others are angry.  

In spite of it all:  I still believe in the vision and I choose to learn how to STAND.

No – I don’t think for one minute that I have this all figured out or that I’ve mastered it.  But I know that holding onto the vision in spite of the challenges, is what makes the vision a reality.

How about you?

  • Have you ever heard those three words put together?  Consistent, Fair and Explainable
  • Do you think the outcome of choosing to live and lead like that is worth the energy it takes?

One more time… I send a huge shout out to Bev and Doug Sprague for the inspiration these words, I hope that they speak to you as they have to me. 

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7 thoughts on “Leadership 101: Consistent, Fair, Explainable

  1. Chery — thought-provoking! From my perspective, being consistent, fair and explainable are all outputs of having a clear vision and purpose backed by character. If those inputs are lacking, that directional marker for being consistent is missing. It’s a bit like the Cheshire cat speaking with Alice:

    “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
    “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
    “I don’t much care where –” said Alice.
    “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

    • Hi Jane! I agree it takes all three elements to be consistent, fair and explainable! Vision, purpose, AND character! (Love the Cheshire cat quote!)

  2. Really a good post Chery. There are consequences when “favoritism” goes awry too. I’ve been seeing those consequences with one of my customers. The impact goes beyond the workplace into the personal and expands out to all the surrounding people. Very important message you have.

    • Joy your example immediately transported me to the places I’ve witnessd that behavior too. The good news is that some people learn best – when they learn the hard way. And some learn from watching what happens if… Hopefully the ultimate impact will be transformation for individals and the organization!

  3. Love those three powerful words Chery!

    I think being consistent is not emphasized enough. When we lead we need to be recognizable as standing for certain values and ethics.

    Authentic leaders are not afraid to share their beliefs but remain open to different perspectives.

    Terrific post Chery!!

    • Thank you Terri! I love them too. I was in a very pain-filled place several years ago, when I heard those words put together they helped me articulate immediately why I was feeling so confused and frustrated. As I pondered what it was like to be on the receiving end of the opposite of those three words, I also gained a clear vision of what I want to be like. It has been several years since those words were introduced to me as a phrase, and I stil think about them, hold myself accountable to them, and share them! …Powerful they are! :)