Values and Leadership Newsletter
The Values & Leadership Newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter focusing on organizational leadership, values and ethics, and non-profits in general.
Food for Thought | March 2021
Over the years we have seen loved and respected leaders called out for actions we didn’t think possible. Great leaders abusing their power for years without consequence. I have found myself wondering how these actions went on for so long. How did leaders have the room to behave this way and why didn’t they get caught sooner?
We've all faced times, at work, and in our broader lives, when we have had questions about the actions of our leaders. Maybe we didn’t know how to speak up or what to say. Would anyone listen? Would someone get hurt in the process? For all these reasons, we may not have felt equipped to act on what we believe is right. This is a difficult spot to be in. Organizations have a responsibility to create a culture of safety, where there are structures and policies in place that enable people to come forward when they have seen or experienced an abuse of power. No matter how powerful or popular, people are prone to error; it’s in our DNA. This emphasizes the importance of creating an environment that sees these errors and holds people accountable.
In the News
There are lessons to be learned from stories of fallen leaders that can help protect against abuses of power. Take steps to identify and acknowledge what may blind us from wrongdoings. Set boundaries that protect people and foster accountability at all levels of the organization.
After witnessing how crises can engulf an organization, this public relations professional is warning organizations that there is more to be done than cleaning up the aftermath from misuse of power. “We must fight to prevent it from taking root in the first place.”
Defining what is right and wrong is only one part of creating an accountable culture. You must also enable action against wrongdoing. Creating a culture of safety, providing the right tools, and giving employees a voice can help safeguard against abuses of power before they create devastation.
“When people gain power, they become less empathetic to those they lead, even if they were highly empathetic and generous to begin with.” This Inc. article explores what can happen to leaders when they gain power and measures they can put in place to protect against empathy shutdown.
Some signs of a toxic work culture are obvious, others are not. Watch for subtle cues so you can take steps to change it. “Unfortunately, toxic work cultures are not as uncommon as we’d like to admit.”
From our Shelves
In this follow up book to Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability offers tools and practical advice to help improve relationships both personal and professional. This book helps motivate accountability through a multi-stage approach to having the hard conversations.
Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan & Switzler
McGraw-Hill Education (2013)