Avoid workplace scandals better than a politician
Toronto is known for its financial services but lately the city has been serving late night comedy shows with plenty of material instead. Recent news from Toronto’s leader, Mayor Rob Ford, has tarnished the image of the city and caused outrage by the people he represents. The recent scandal best serves as tutorial of how not to be an effective leader. However, by looking at what went wrong, employers can learn how they can avoid such a disastrous situation.
To avoid a scandal all together, successful leaders need to be able to separate their intimate lives from their professional image. You don’t need to divulge all of your weekend plans to appear likable to your employees. As a leader, it’s more important for you to appear strong, focused and driven than fun and exciting. Try to keep your personal stories G-rated so nobody gets offended.
An effective leader also knows how to handle crisis control. The most respectable approach has always been to acknowledge the issue and move on. Sometimes a quick explanation can diffuse the problem so you can focus on your business. It’s the same as how you would handle an upset customer: acknowledge the problem, apologize and find a solution.
Remember to think before you speak. This is always a good rule of thumb, especially if you find yourself in the middle of a rumor. Gather your thoughts before you say anything that could potentially make a situation worse. A good leader can’t be blinded by emotions. If you need to vent about something work related, write it down or call a friend. The break room isn’t a psychiatrist’s office so don’t use it for therapy.
The most important thing is to maintain the respect of your followers. Employees need someone to look up to. If you can’t maintain your image as a leader, you will find yourself ineffective. You may even find yourself in danger of replacement. At the most basic level, employees just want to know you have their back. They need someone they can trust.
Like politics, it’s all about your image. Fortunately, most employers already manage themselves better than politicians but Toronto’s mayor is a prime example of how your perception can get out of control. If you notice you’ve lost control of the wheel, just use Rob Ford as an example of what not to do. Carefully steer yourself back on track and you can quickly put any issue behind you so you can focus on the challenges ahead.