Lead with integrity and respect, not political charm

Lead with integrity and respect, not political charm.

Mike Berman on Justice Scalia's death and how it applis to modern business leadership

Image via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonin_Scalia*

National politics, once again, perfectly reflects not only the most unappealing aspects of corporate life, it also reinforces why 2016 is off to such a horrible start.  At best, these qualities result in slow decision making, but the more common worst outcome is the lack of decisions in an environment that demands better

Justice Antonin Scalia, by any measure, was a great man. His sudden passing certainly came as a shock to all, but undoubtedly more to his family and closest friends. However, rather than showing proper respect for Justice Scalia, allowing others to reflect on his life and mourn his passing with deserved dignity, politicians (of all stripes) immediately seized what they saw as a perverse opportunity.

Instead of mourning, immediate reaction was mostly about whether or not President Obama should attempt to nominate a Supreme Court replacement.  Again, I refer to Glassdoor and the almost endless reviews criticizing management for not valuing employees. This lack of respect (by people who should know better), as afforded a giant like Scalia to be mirrored by every day comments from every day people who find good reason to believe that they’re utterly replaceable in their jobs and organizations!

The knee-jerk need to offer opinions on newsworthy events is further compounded by the wrong people in the wrong roles asserting self-serving authority. Led by Mitch McConnell’s instant reaction to Justice Scalia’s passing, Republican consensus is that the President should not nominate a replacement. In fact, the Senate is not empowered to trigger Supreme Court nominations–that’s the President’s role. Yet, assertively senate leaders–including senators running for president, are overstepping their boundaries by attempting to overrule what is reserved for an entirely separate branch of government.

Although the workplace has always known “sales vs. manufacturing” and other intramural squabbles, there’s a frightening rise in managers expressing victimization for poor performance within their own functions–expressing absolute certainty about how another department can and must improve. Accountability is not only deflected from where it should be, based on one’s own performance, but used as a battering ram on others!

The record-setting public disgust with D.C. gridlock is well-established, but the same gridlock is insidiously ‎damaging corporate performance with little notice. A lack of respect, replacing ideas with opinions, and fractured organizational purpose, underscored by twisted definitions of accountability, may seem like soft skills, but when added together they kill the hardest measure of all–tangible results. Politics and business leaders have created these conditions. The only remedy is true leadership. Business executives must urgently lead with integrity, which is unlikely to be found in politics, starting with: having the utmost respect for all stakeholders.

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1 Comment
  1. Great post Mike! Leading with integrity and valuing (respecting) employees results in improved employee performance, which in turn will typically generate improved financial results for companies. I witnessed this
    when Tom Murphy and Dan Burke were the leaders at Cap Cities/ABC. Not sure politicians in general will
    ever come close to the standards set by Tom and Dan ……. but hopefully more business leaders will.

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