Bully for you - a question of values.
Your leadership is often defined by what you do, not what you say. How you act, not what words you repeat from the company values on the wall. People respond and get messages from what you attend to – and ignore. In times of difficulty and change like a pandemic this becomes even more important. How should we behave?
‘form square around the prittster’, Boris Johnson’s instructions to his inner sanctum once an independent commission report he’s tried to bury becomes public, and finds his colleague guilty of bullying, in three different departments. He dismisses a serious charge affecting the well being of people over whom he has a duty of care as it doesn’t suit him. A few days after this he wrote to his staff that there is ‘no room for bullying’. The espoused values can be taken as nothing more than hot air.
In these moments we show what our leadership stands for. I doubt he would want to publish the clear implications of his statement, but they are clear to see
- This is a trivial matter we can brush under the carpet, it sounds like a schoolboy jape
- I have decided to act in a way previously considered unacceptable by people in my position
- I am coercing you to collude with me – pick a side
- Rejoice in the fact we are exempt from the rules of the lower ranks.
In his role he hopes the electorate will forget easily. The seduction of the power coming with a senior role can lead us to enjoy the privilege’s and miss the responsibilities. It can also fool us that our self-serving actions will not be punished. In my experience, in organisational settings these true messages regarding what you endorse and disregard are remembered for years – more than fancy words on a wall. People don’t vote once every five years, each and every day they decide about whether to put all their effort behind you.
If this example existed in your organisation how much additional effort would you expend when told ‘we are all in this together’? Senior role modelling is scrutinised closely especially now. Leave a footprint you’d be proud of and which leads others for the common good. Park your own selfish drives.