Tag Archives: EI

Leaders without any shame – 2014

 

employee_diciplined_1600_wht_56352014 update

Sepp Blatter and the corrupt organisation that is FIFA hit the news again this weekend in a Sunday Times (STexpose.

The FIFA President and his executive committee were secretly given limited edition Swiss watches worth almost £15,000 each during the World Cup despite their own rules saying that gifts should only be of “symbolic or trivial” value.

They will be ordered to give them back by Michael Garcia their ethics investigator after the ST discovered the gifts made by Swiss watch maker Parmigiani which sponsors the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF).

They’ve been told to hand them back by 25 September. Michael Platini is refusing saying he’s a “well-educated man and you don’t give back presents”.

Apparently Garcia has already blocked the gift of two watches worth up to  £42,000 which the World Cup sponsor Hublot had planned to give to Blatter and all 26 members of the ruling executive committee (exco).

So Sepp Blatter and the execs would have received gifts worth £2.5 million during the tournament in poverty-stricken Brazil.

Blatter must  be sick of the ST after they exposed the fiasco surrounding the Qatar bribery scandal. But for three of the executive committee taking a principled stand – the others accepted the gifts –  and reporting the gift to the ethics committee it probably wouldn’t have come to light.

So well done Sunil Gilati, the US exco member, Moya Dodd, the Australian member, and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.

As for Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president has previous for not seeing bribery and corruption in front of his eyes.

Updated: 14 September 2014

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And we turn again to child abuse by men of Pakistani heritage, this time in Rotherham.

An independent report found systematic failures by the Council and Police over an extended period between 2007 and 2013 during which 1,400 girls were raped, trafficked and horribly sexually abused.

The leader of the Council Roger Stone has resigned saying he takes responsibility “on behalf of the whole council for the historic failings that are described so clearly in the report

Someone who has not yet resigned is Shaun Wright currently PCC responsible for policing in South Yorkshire who was a cabinet member at Rotherham from 2006-2010 responsible for Childrens’ Services. In 2012 he was Deputy Chairman of the Police Authority and objected to the press “picking on Rotherham”.

He’s under a lot of pressure from all sides of government. Sarah Champion, the Labour MP for Rotherham, said Mr Wright “needs to stand up and be counted for what happened under his watch” and it’s not often I agree with Labour’s Ed Balls but he was quoted as saying;  “Mr Wright should resign…when leadership fails it’s important people take responsibility“.

By tomorrow he may have resigned as PCC but we’ll see.

He hadn’t as at 4 September but hasn’t been seen at his office for a couple of days and is due to appear before Parliament shortly.

Shaun Wright resigned today (16 September 2014) as PCC.

So far no-one at the Council has been disciplined for this disgraceful mess as the Chief Executive Martin Kimber has said that  there’s not enough evidence to prosecute anyone currently there and others have left.  Excuse me Mr Kimber but disciplinary action doesn’t need the same burden of proof as a prosecution. Maybe you should have a word with your HR Director?

Mr Kimber is also leaving the organisation in December he announced on 8 September 2014

Is it too much to hope that those managers who have moved on can still be held to account?

Latest reports say that Rotherham CEO has requested meeting with Doncaster Council where Jackie Wilson is now employed as Assistant Director for Children and Families. She was a senior manager at Rotherham with safe-guarding responsibilities during the years when abuse was going on.

Local police district commander Chief Superintendent Christine Davies also gets a mention for berating Home Office researcher for raising the issue. Where is she now?

The Mayor of Liverpool said he would demand answers from their current Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald who was Rotherham’s Chief Executive from 2011 to 2013.

A tory MP has realised questions about whether Pam Allen who was in charge of child protection at Rotherham from 2004 to 2009 can remain as head of safeguarding at East Riding Council.

And let’s not forget Joyce Thacker OBE who became Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services in 2008 after working in Bradford and Keighley, places also associated with sexual grooming by Pakistani men and where it was also ignored.

She resigned today (19 September 2014) but still has her OBE –  awarded for her work in children’s services!

Professor Alexis Jay, who wrote the report, condemned the ‘blatant’ collective failures by the council’s leadership, concluding: ‘It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered.’

Posted August 2014
For 2013 update and earlier click here:

 

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Leaders without any shame – 2013 update

s6000346_22013 update:

So many people I could add. First let me just add the whole of the BBC corporate set-up after the Savile affair and excessive payouts to the former DG and other unsuccessful applicants. That was unbelievable.

And the Sir David Nicholson scandal. He refuses to take responsibility for what happened on his watch at mid-Staffs and since as NHS CEO. He has faced many calls to resign and fall on his sword (well he is a knight) but astonishingly has the backing of the NHS commissioners and the Prime Minister.

Another knight Sir Hector Sants is accused of turning a blind eye when he was head of the FSA during Libor scandal. Barclays bank was one of worst offenders and now employ him on a reputed £3M salary as head of compliance.

Then we had the Senior Fraud Office. The former head, Richard Alderman, was lambasted by the Public Accounts Committee for slovenly leadership. There were unauthorised payoffs of millions of pounds of taxpayers money considered irregular by National Audit Office.

The former Chief Executive Phillippa Williamson, one of the recipients of Alderman’s generosity, wasn’t even appointed through proper channels. She was taken in on secondment by Alderman then made permanent and promoted to Chief Executive. She also lived in the Lake District and claimed £27k for travelling to London 3 times a week.

If the SFO behaves in such a haphazard manner how can they expect to be effective in carrying out their role?

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It’s been a while since I added anyone to my leadership hall of shame. Not because I didn’t care any more but there seemed to be too many mediocre leaders receiving high rewards – even when they were found out.

OK Bob Diamond had to go in the end and we had Fred the Shred de-knighted – but he kept the majority of his massive pension (around £350,000 a year plus a lump sum and bonus of several million) more than most of us have any chance of earning when we are working never mind retired.

But a recent news story reminded me how people get way with it because of incompetence by their employers.

Steve Garner was Head of Children’s Services for Rochdale Council after being promoted from being a manager three years ago. So the systematic abuse of vulnerable children was happening on his watch. He’s now been allowed to resign without any disciplinary action being taken against him.

A review by the Council’s safeguarding board into 5 years of sexual exploitation of girls by a group of predatory Asian men, mainly of Pakistani heritage, who were part of a sex-grooming network which eventually led to 9 of them being jailed, found that in 2007 fifty girls aged between 10 and 17 were identified as having links with local taxi and food takeaway businesses. (NB a further 76 were identified at the start of 2013)

Yet when these girls were referred to social service no action was taken despite concerns by police and care workers as it was thought they were making their own lifestyle choices – remember some of these girls were as young as 10!

The MP for Rotherham – another area with similar problems – said “it was outrageous that the local authority was allowing its senior managers to sneak off without being held to account for their actions”. 

He said that Mr Garner was the person within the department who influenced the culture which failed the victims. He went on to say that he thought the manager should have been suspended months ago, a point most people would find it hard to disagree with, and for that non-action you have to look at the employer, Rochdale Council.

Mr Garner was probably continuing in his predecessor’s footsteps as he was following a series of internal appointments – not always a good thing if change needs to be made.

We could probably add former CEO Roger Ellis to this list as well as he told the parliamentary inquiry (which Steve Garner has declined to attend) that he knew nothing about the child abuse although he was in post for 10 years and it happened on his watch! Like Sharon Shoesmith he says he feels no personal responsibility for any of it. He’s a lawyer so presumably knows his rights if no-one else’s.

The Council’s new Chief Executive Jim Taylor (formerly Director of Children’s Services at Tameside and a maths teacher before that) said that Mr Garner’s resignation was not directly connected to the report and that he would be willing to take disciplinary action against any staff who were identified as culpable after an internal review has been concluded. He said that Mr Garner would not receive any redundancy pay.

Well why would he as they are replacing him, following the thematic review of multi-agency responses to the sexual exploitation of children, to “allow someone else to take forward recommendations”.

Allowing people potentially facing disciplinary action is a common practice in the Public Sector including the Police service eg only this week Sir Norman Bettison has decided to retire in the wake of the report from the  Hillsborough Independent Panel as it enables people who might have been disciplined to retire on their pensions.

It seems that no-one is being held accountable for the whole sorry saga which has been going on for a lot, lot longer than this report suggests and before Mr Garner’s time in post. Nevertheless the Rotherham MP is correct; leaders are highly influential in setting the culture of an organisation and in this case it was clearly a failure of leadership as well as a lack of moral certainty usurped by political correctness on race issues.

In some respects this is similar to the Sharon Shoesmith case (see below).

With Sharon Shoesmith’s distasteful victory in the Courts we saw yet another example of leaders who refuse to take responsibility for their actions – or in this case inactions.

Her reported comments that I don’t do blame” and “this is a victory” has a hollow ring when you think about Baby P. Shoesmith was appointed to make sure that the Climbie case in 2000 was not repeated. She clearly failed to do this and the Courts upheld Ofsted’s findings which described the department as the worst they had ever seen.

At least the leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for the children’s’ services resigned, but not Shoesmith. And she got her compensation for unfair dismissal thanks to Ed Balls heavy-handed interference (but what was HR doing?). So big compensation for being rubbish at her job.

The last person I  added to my list was Barclay’s Bob Diamond who told the House of Commons Treasury Committee parliamentary committee earlier this year that “There was a period of remorse and apology for banks, that period needs to be over” and “the biggest issue is how do we put some of the blame game behind us?”.

He also said that they were sensitive and were listening. I don’t remember any bankers listening and refusing bonuses or showing any remorse at all!

We expect a lot of leaders and expect them to be good role models but that’s not what we get a lot of the time. Leaders with narcissistic or sociopathic tendencies often show their dark side when under pressure.

The fact that “Fred the Shred” felt it necessary to take out a superinjunction to protect the public learning about his alleged affair with a senior member of staff at a time that the bank was going under at least shows some self-awareness, albeit in his own interest, that his behaviour might be seen as counter-productive. But on the whole people like Diamond and Shoesmith don’t seem to possess a lot of emotional intelligence.

4 June 2011: It would be so easy to add Sepp Blatter to the list after his Napoleonic “coronation” but this week’s nomination has to be Bernie Ecclestone after his decision to go to Bahrain with his Formula 1 circus. He obviously needs the $40m but even the sponsors are nervous about the effect on their reputations.

Britain has close relations with Bahrain but given the suppression of protests there and the possibility of a terrorist attack it’s a dubious decision. Ecclestone might have a nose for a commercial deal but scores zero for ethical leadership.

12 July 2011: I’ve been trying to decide who is worse, Rebecca Brooks or any member of the Murdoch family. But the “red top” who oversaw the demise of the News of the World, which she described as a toxic brand and thereby besmirched the reputations of the 200 staff, has to be on a par with Sharon Shoesmith for not accepting any responsibility for what happened.

Leaders who won’t fall on their sword, who believe they are right, who blame everyone else (Brooks was editor at the time of the hacking) don’t deserve to be leaders. Why did Murdoch back her? She said she was a lightning rod for criticism.

Perhaps it keeps the heat off son James Murdoch. Rebecca should remember that no matter how much a favoured “daughter” she thinks she is, blood is thicker than water (and true to form Murdoch is now back at BSkyB).

Rebecca Brooks eventually lost her job, albeit with a reported £1.7M payoff and use of an office and chauffeur-driven car for two years. Perhaps they’re waiting for the Sun on Sunday to be published.

And whilst we are on this topic let’s add Assistant Commissioner John Yates to the list for complete lack of leadership. OK he has apologised, admitted that the Metropolitan Police’s reputation is “very damaged“, appears not to have carried out his responsibilities properly when he mishandled the review of the 2007 inquiry (apparently he decided in a matter of hours even though there were 11,000 pages of notes involved), but he’s not resigned either.

James is still trying not to show how incompetent, or devious, he is but it looks like the Murdoch dynasty has upset too many shareholders to continue for another generation.

I previously let Sepp Blatter off the hook because of Bernie Ecclestone’s Bahrain fiasco but after this week and his belated apology and refusal to resign – and why would he quit the corrupt gravy train that is FIFA – he’s got to be latest nomination for a leader completely without principles and any awareness of what the public think about him and his ideas.

He’s not the only one in football to defend the indefensible this month eg spitting at people is culturally acceptable in South American countries – really? So Sepp Blatter joins my leadership hall of shame.

Leadership the Abraham Lincoln Way

Abe LincolnAbraham Lincoln is news right now with the release of the Golden Globe nominated film Lincoln.

Lincoln is considered to be one of the top 3 Presidents alongside Roosevelt and Washington. A self-educated man from the mid-West he is probably best known for opposing slavery, winning the American Civil War, and the famous Gettysburg address.

A book about his leadership during the Civil War, “Team of Rivals”, was apparently Barack Obama’s choice if he could only take one book with him to the White House.

So what was he like as a leader? He has been accused of using patronage and setting people up against each other to “divide and conquer”.

According to historian Doris Kearn Goodwin, who wrote “Team of Rivals” Barack Obama tried to emulate Lincoln by bringing into his cabinet heavyweight politicians who were either past or future Presidential candidates, eg Hillary Clinton, and who were his most able rivals. People who weren’t afraid to speak up and were confident of their own leadership abilities.

Gordon Brown, the UK’s unelected Prime Minister (taking over from Tony Blair) proposed something similar in 2007 when he spoke of changes and having a “government of all talents” (GOATs). This never worked for him and he lost office in 2010. He was seen as a dour individual with little personal warmth or charisma and demonstrating little evidence of having emotional intelligence.

Goodwin puts Lincoln’s success down to being able to manage the egos and ambitions of his rivals to create a team capable of managing the challenges of a Civil War. She thinks this inclusive leadership style requires a very high level of emotional intelligence. He learned from his mistakes, shared responsibility for others’ mistakes, and didn’t hold grudges.

He also appeared to make time to relax visiting the theatre on a regular basis and had sense of humour and an ability to tell stories.

He wasn’t perfect. He liked people, didn’t want to hurt them, and gave them second chances. He wasn’t ruthless enough in getting rid of people such as the head of the Union Army at he beginning of the war. His failure to do so lost them battles and cost thousands of lives, probably unnecessarily.

It doesn’t pay to be too nice 

P1000657 - Version 2Professor Adrian Furnham’s column in The Sunday Times is always of interest to psychologically minded executives and his book; “The Elephant in the Boardroom – the causes of leadership derailment”, should be essential reading for all would-be directors.

As a psychologist I liked the piece in which he explained why nice guys don’t always win – because of their Agreeable personality.

Agreeableness is one of the Big 5 Personality Factors (along with Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, and Neuroticism).

He points out that Agreeableness can be a handicap in business as the higher you score on this factor, the less likely you are to succeed as a business leader!

Most of us would prefer to work for an agreeable rather than a disagreeable boss, wouldn’t we? Well perhaps not says Furnham. Agreeable bosses may make you dissatisfied by not dealing with poor performers and being too forgiving, maybe treating you all the same, or being manipulated by your more devious colleagues.

One of my earlier posts Sometimes you just have to tell em” was about research at Roffey Park that showed that we are not very good at dealing with underperformance or telling people what we want, that strong managers get more respect, and that a firm consistent approach is better for morale and performance generally.

And it gets worse – if you’re a female. The Times reported last year on some research carried out by the Institute of Employment Research and concluded that;  “It doesn’t pay for a female boss to be too nice. The research showed that personality factors do come into account and that, for example, nice people earn less.

Too niceApparently nice women are being swept away by openly aggressive ones who know what they want.

A more recent paper presented to the Academy of Management by Beth A Livingston from Cornell University analysed surveys spread over 20 years. She found that  significantly less agreeable men earned 18.3% more than men who were significantly more agreeable. For women the difference was less, just 5.5%.

Livingston said; “Men’s disagreeable behaviour conforms to expectations of masculine behaviour“.

Apparently nice women are being swept away by openly aggressive ones who know what they want.

Working hard obviously helps but if you are too conscientious you may be seen as neurotic (or get bullied), and extraverts do no better than introverts.

Professor Cary Cooper, at the University of Lancaster Management School, agrees but also thinks women have more emotional intelligence than men and are not generally as egocentric.

So agreeable managers have to learn how to toughen up – for the sake of their team and the organisation, just as the disagreeable ones have to learn how to be nice – if only for the PR.

The July 2010 issue of Psychologies magazine has picked up on this topic in their article; “Why it pays to be tough at work“. It suggests that the prevailing view that it’s not the cleverest (presumably meaning IQ) but those with the highest emotional intelligence that succeed is wrong.

That was always a simplistic view at best and one that Adrian Furnham disagrees with as he says there is evidence that disagreeable poeple do better. The German research quoted says agreeable women earned £40,000 less over a lifetime than women who behaved more like ruthless men.

The article’s author then has a go at empathy. She quotes Jack Welch’s wife as saying that; “too much empathy is paralysing” when you have to give tough feedback or make tough decisions, and goes on to talk about women being prone to slipping into “good mother” roles where they create “gardens of entitlement” sowing seeds of future problems (such as?).

After dismissing empathy – by quoting Neutron Jack’s wife for goodness sake – the author next attacks self-knowledge which she doesn’t consider essential for top jobs as it can detract from self-confidence if it makes you aware of your failings (is she serious that these people don’t need feedback ?

Some people have short memories; what about Enron, the banks or BP?. Furnham is quoted as saying that people who get on may be narcissistic – which is not the only dark-side attribute.

If men overestimate their abilities and don’t navel gaze while women underestimate themselves and have self-doubt (imposter syndrome) then women seemed doomed to fail according to the author and people like Suzy Welch.

In fact the author seems to welcome emotional stupidity as it makes less demands on her. She even has a dig at Anne Mulcahy, ex-CEO of Xerox, because, although she has written about what women can bring to the workplace in terms of emotionality which makes them better leaders, she cut 1/3 of the workforce.

Did she not wonder how Neutron Jack got his nickname?

Original published on 12 April 2010

Leadership – do you have what it takes?

LeaderNow is as good a time as ever to think about leadership, something sadly missing some might say in government and banking.

Research shows that as many as 10% of leaders could have narcissistic or sociopathic tendencies lurking behind a charming veneer. They are self-obsessed, leave a trail of casualties in their wake, and like Typhoid Mary are seemingly unaffected by their actions.

Organizational psychologist Kathy Schnure’s  research, presented at the 25th annual conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and reported in Management Issues, compared ratings of leadership potential for those who have high levels of narcissism to those who show low-to-average levels on the ‘narcissism scale’.

She found those displaying strong narcissistic tendencies – things like exploitation/entitlement, leadership/authority, superiority/arrogance, and self-absorption/self admiration – had a significantly higher rating of potential leadership abilities than those with low-to-average scores.

“Those results would indicate the vision, confidence and pride in their own accomplishments could presumably translate into effective leadership in an organization or team,” Schnure said. On the other hand, while narcissists do gain leadership roles, often based on their charisma and ability to persuade others to accept their point of view, some of the underlying traits, or dark sides” will eventually surface, preventing any “good” leadership,” she added.

Timothy Judge, an organizational psychologist at the University of Florida, says a prime example of this “dark side” is an overblown sense of self-worth

“Narcissists are intensely competitive, self-centered, exploitive and exhibitionistic. They tend to surround themselves with supplicants they see as inferior. When they are challenged or perceive competition, they often derogate and undermine anyone, even those closest to them, they perceive as threats (and unfortunately, they are vigilant in scanning for threats)“.

Schnure said  leaders who are charismatic are not necessarily narcissists. “Charismatic leaders are not exploitive; they do not trample others to get what they want. Rather they display empathy toward employees” she added.

And what about leaders who are described as “charismatic“, for example Obama or the late Steve Jobs at Apple? Rob Goffee, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School and co-author of  “Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?”, quoted in an article in The Times “It’s not all about being charismatic“, in 2009, thinks that strong leaders are good at developing disciples, but not successors.

“The people that make leaders charismatic are their followers. Barack Obama, for example, is clearly charismatic, but he’s also enigmatic. You can’t pin him down and so he allows us to project our dreams and hopes on to him.”

So just what does it take to be a leader? According to the Work Foundation there are 5 key skills:

  1. Seeing the bigger picture
  2. Understanding that talk is work
  3. Giving time and space to others
  4. Going through performance
  5. Putting “we” before “me”

Source: The Guardian article “Follow Your Leader?” 16/01/2010

And based on good practice and wide experience I also offer the following quick read: 10 ways to be a leader 10Ways2bALeader

First published 8 April 2010

Feedback & Women’s Team Performance

Receiving feedback on how individuals in a group are performing on can reduce your cognitive ability.

That’s according to researchers at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute who used MRI technology to study how the brain was processing information about the group processes and how it effected cognitive capacity.

Researchers ranked  performances on tasks and then shared that information with the group. After the feedback some people’s problem-solving ability declined significantly and that was particularly true for women.

The researchers think that subtle social signals in group settings affect cognitive functioning or, as the Daily Mail put it: “being in a group lowers your intelligence especially if you’re a women”.

This is interesting because not long ago I posted on how adding women to your group raised its collective IQ. This was attributed to women having better social skills, or more social sensitivity (similar to emotional intelligence). Teams displaying social sensitivity would be more open to feedback and constructive criticism.

I wonder if in this experiment the sharing of feedback introduced an element of competition rather than cooperation and raised stress levels which impact on problem-solving ability. Other research has found that men are more competitive than women on the whole and this gender competition gap could explain why in this experiment giving feedback was not  an advantage for women and of course for the team as a whole.

The Language of Leaders

A great summary of Kevin Murray’s book: “The Language of Leaders. How Top CEOs Communicate to Inspire, Influence and Achieve Results” in the Sunday Times this weekend.

Headed “Say what you mean and mean what you say” the review describes how Murray, Chairman of a PR company, questioned 60 top business leaders about what they looked for when hiring leaders. 

The responses consistently said, in order:

  1. raw intellect and ability to think clearly & strategically
  2. the ability to choose the right people & align them to a cause
  3. the ability to communicate with others and inspire them
Other sought after characteristics included:
  • future focus
  • a sense of mission
  • strong values
  • integrity
  • authenticity

Murray says authenticity is about understanding your strengths and weaknesses. “Be clear about the beliefs that underpin your strength and figure out your sense of purpose. Articulate all the above. Only then can you talk from the heart”.

He says people who talk from the heart communicate better because their body language is congruent with what they are saying and people pick up on it when it isn’t congruent and then won’t trust them.

Although he doesn’t use the terms he is talking about  leaders having emotional intelligence for which having a degree of self-awareness is a good starting point.