Tag Archives: self-awareness

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:

 

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.

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.

 

Resilient Leadership

Over the years there have been many approaches to leadership with trait theories, style theories, functional models, situational/contingency models, transactional/transformational theories, ideas about biological and personality characteristics, and more recently emotional intelligence competencies.

So do leaders need to be more intelligent than their followers? Well probably a bit, because that inspires confidence, but not too much more intelligent. Do they need to be empathetic? It’s probably better if they have tough empathy ie “grow or go” but they do need social skills. Do they need to be liked? No, but they need to be respected. And since the last recession integrity has become important again.

Difficult times require people to perform better than normal and people need exceptional leaders to help them do that.  By exceptional I don’t mean charismatic or heroic leaders – although some people respond to that style of leadership which “encourages the heart” – but leaders who do what they say they will do ie are conscientious, and also act as role models. And to do that they need to be both self-confident and emotionally stable.

Research among elite performers found that they had a number of characteristics in common. As well as being intelligent, disciplined and bold, with strong practical and interpersonal skills, they bounced back from adversity.

Jim Collins describes in his new book “How the mighty fall” people who are exasperatingly persistent and never give up. They are not necessarily the brightest, most talented, or best looking, but they are successful because they know that not giving up is the most important thing they do. He says; “success is falling down and getting up one more time, without end”.

This resilience (from the latin to leap back) is linked to personal attributes such as calmness in stressful situations, reflection on performance through feedback, and learning systematically from both success and failure. Resilient people generally:

  • Recognise what they can control and influence and do something about it, rather than worry about what they can’t
  • Stay involved rather than becoming cynical or detached or simply walking away
  • Work with others to shape the environment and influence things that affect them most
  • Act as a source of inspiration to others to counter self-destructive behaviour

Aren’t these the sort of behaviours you would expect from good leaders? So it’s not just about “bouncing back” and carrying on where you left off before. It’s about reflecting and learning from what has happened and then getting back to business.

Resilience seems to be an innate ability for most people and is increasingly found in leadership competency frameworks where it is linked with confidence, authenticity and ethical leadership ideas.

Modern leaders need not just brains and emotional intelligence but also resilience. Acting as a role model is an essential part of being an effective leader hence the need for them to be hardy and emotionally stable. Research shows that resilient leaders can have a positive effect on the well-being of organisations and their employees so it’s well worth organisations developing such capabilities.

See how you can develop resilience

1, 2, or 3 buttons?

How buttoned up you are could influence your career prospects. Literally.

But many women know that already. Even if you have the brains using your “erotic capital” might give you a boost.

As a former city trader said; “do you want to get noticed or play safe?” in the Sunday Times article  (19/12/10) “Which button says I get promotion?”

On women’s shirts 3 buttons undone is too much but only one or two looks dowdy. It seems dress codes are back in style. And not just relating to cleavage but hemlines, collars, suit pockets and shoes. Swiss Bank UBS has produced on of the most detailed dress codes I have come across.

And this is a subject I have first hand knowledge of. Back when I was an HR Director I suggested that a female member of the team might want to wear something that wasn’t completely backless. (And I mean totally. From behind she looked like she was topless). I felt it didn’t reflect a professional image. My boss the CEO heard about it and his only comment was “good luck with that”. It was considered too delicate a topic to have an open discussion about (we eventually resolved it by getting all the staff to agree what was acceptable and what wasn’t).

So UBS has views not only about how to dress but also about personal hygiene eg sweaty feet, garlic breath and other aspects of grooming which they believe will improve performance at work. And the detail is truly awe-inspiring: heel height, number of buttons on jackets, when to button and when not to, colour of women’s underwear, lipstick, mascara and nail polish, hair style (mustn’t take more than 30 minutes to prepare each day) and perfume strength.

So is this “uniforms r us” and back to wearing ties and cuff-links for men? The recession might have brought an end to “dress down Fridays”. It seems managers are seeing a link between smart dress, a confident mindset and high performance. Will this approach filter down to other jobs? Do you really want to look different when redundancies are looming?

But however detailed your dress code and wherever you work the article suggests one definite “no-no” for men – never tuck your tie in your trousers.

Updated 5 July 2011: Harrods are being accused of having a too strict dress code about wearing make-up (this only applies to women as far as I know).

The Guardian (02/07/11) reported that it made one sales assistant in the HMV department so stressed she felt she was driven out of her job. The 24 year-old says she was sent home on two occasions and also sent to work in the stock room. HMV were supportive but Harrods became insistent.

She says she worked for 4 years without make-up and was described as one of the best employees by her manager and had received a commendation and excellent mystery shopper feedback.

She didn’t wear make-up at her interview and had no problems until senior managers doing a floor walk spotted her and sent her home for refusing to wear it. She was later summoned to a manager’s office where it was suggested she wore some makeup. She didn’t and continued at work for several more weeks until a new floor manager said that the girls had to be made up at which point she decided she couldn’t go through with more meetings with management and resigned.

The dress code requires women to wear full make-up at all times: base, blusher, full eyes (not too heavy), lipstick, lip liner and gloss, and to maintain this during the day. When she refused to wear make-up she was offered a make-up  workshop so she could see what she looked like.

Clearly she has worked there without make-up for several years and performed well. Dress codes have to be reasonable and you might expect them to be concerned with too much or inappropriate make-up.

Harrods insist she left of her own accord but equality lawyers are probably smacking their lips.

Leaders, Charisma, and NVC

As I’ve posted before in Body Language Watching Opportunities” watching politicians is always good for practising your skills at reading non-verbal communication (NVC). The recent UK elections and the subsequent election of a new leader for the labour party provided lots of contrasting examples.

And although Gordon Brown, for example, was regarded as a poor performer in this regard compared to Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, Blair and Obama’s falls from favour show that people do eventually see through the spin and the rhetoric (see “Being visionary is not enough”).

Ken Rea, a senior acting tutor from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, who also coaches senior executives, wrote an interesting piece for the Sunday Times on this topic putting Ed Milliband, the newly elected labour leader, under the spotlight: “Leaders must act like they mean it”.

He is quick to say that he doesn’t believe leaders should act their way through presentations – after all it takes 3 years to for students to learn how to control their voices, body and emotions – but by understanding techniques used by actors leaders could have the confidence to be more authentic and thereby gain credibility. Milliband’s recent conference speech was sincere but Rea says because it lacked passion – a criticism also levelled at Obama – it made him look lightweight and lacking in charisma.

He says charisma is about revealing your personality by widening your vocal range and projecting a positive and engaging body language – driven by your enthusiasm. (see also “Have you got charisma?”). Milliband needs to learn how to use NVC, particularly his eyes, as Rea doesn’t think they register emotion or show any enthusiasm. Rea also points out that audiences mirror what actors are doing. So if you are giving a flat performance, the audience will give you back what you deserve.

When I run presentation skills or impression management workshops one of the key elements is getting the presenters to look confident and visually connect with their audience. Having emotional intelligence is also important I believe. Having self-awareness, controlling your emotions, understanding what your audience is feeling and developing a relationship with them is the basic requirement of good leadership. As Rob Goffee said in a previous post; “It’s not all about charisma”.

FYI this is not the first time someone from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama has expressed opinions on this subject. In an earlier post “Leadership Panto” the “charisma queen”, voice coach Patsy Rodenburg, explained how people can be coached to be more effective presenters.

Back in September the Daily Telegraph ran a piece in their Science section explaining why they thought David Milliband would be the new leader of the labour party (I almost typed new labour party leader but that would never do in these post-Blair days). Asking; “Is he built to lead?” the authors, Anjana Ahuja & Mark van Vugt, argue that we always pick a chief who can “emote”.

They remind us that David M owes his place at Oxford to his gift of the gab rather than his academic achievements (rather overlooking the possible influence his father might have had) and received an unconditional offer – not for him the need for outstanding A-level results. In their book: “Why some people lead, Why others follow and why it matters” they say that leadership and followership behaviours are hard-wired from our past over 2 million years ago and that we still measure our leaders in the same way we would have done over 10,000 years ago when we first settled in communities.

So if you were fit and healthy you were a potential leader and being big and strong helped you settle disagreements. They point out that that still holds true; taller candidates beat shorter ones eg Obama v McCain and stronger looking CEOs run larger companies than weaker-looking ones. And we know tall men earn more and first impressions count at interviews. (See “Take me to your tall…leader”)

One of the authors was able to demonstrate experimentally how people could be influenced by their sense of belonging to a tribe to choose an incompetent leader over an incompetent one, and even choose a leader who had previously failed when they had a choice of someone who had previously succeeded! So perhaps Red Ed’s triumph over David M through the tribal support of the unions shouldn’t have been such a surprise after all.

They are not saying whether leaders are born or made, because we don’t know. But we do know that some inherited personality traits such as extraversion and verbal IQ are associated with leaders. Leaders tend to speak more fluently using more metaphors and are able to create an emotional connection. Tony Blair said that because Gordon Brown had zero emotional intelligence he couldn’t communicate to the electorate and we saw some examples of that before he decided to retire.

The authors concede that we are sometimes poor at selecting our leaders because we are influenced by their spin or their good looks rather than their expertise or principles. But they say we have also evolved ways of dethroning power grabbers and failing leaders, not least by gossip or ridicule. These days it seems we go for character assassination rather than the real thing. Machiavelli must be turning in his grave!

FYI Research at Columbia University compared power postures to low power, non-assertive postures. Power postures take up more space, like a peacock spreading its feathers, whilst subordinates want to take up less space.

The researchers found that those people asked to adopt power postures, even though they didn’t know why, had higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol. In other words they felt more powerful and less stressed out.

Tim Lambert, a colleague of mine who is a consultant and trainer and a former actor, coaches people into making use of their personal space to help them to be more assertive and influential.

Being visionary is not enough

As President Obama is finding out – selling a vision and being good at speech making is one thing; getting people to deliver and keep on supporting you is an entirely different matter.

His ratings are low in his second year in post – his popularity has crossed the watershed – more people dislike him than like him now. And this despite delivering on the health care package and pulling troops out of Iraq as he promised. It seems to be all about the economy now.

I always thought Obama had a rather enigmatic style of leadership and got funny looks when I said I wasn’t really convinced about him. Too much coaching in using tricks of rhetoric I thought. And how had he progressed through the murky world of Chicago politics and yet come out so clean? Perhaps he was something special after all.

According to research by the HAY Group; “ the visionary leader inspires and is able to explain how and why people’s efforts contribute to the ‘dream’. Through empathy and clarity they are able to move people towards shared dreams“.

This only works however when the leader is seen as an expert and as competent, develops people and provides balanced feedback  – otherwise his words will be seen as just words with no reasoning or explanation to back them up.

So has Obama lost credibility over the BP spillage, the planned mosque near ground zero, or criticisms from military commanders?. What happened to the concept of “Soft Power” which was the subject of many articles after his election?

He clearly has self-control but has been accused of lacking passion so just how self-aware is he really? They say things are bad when wives are brought into the spotlight. Think Sarah Brown supporting Gordon (“zero emotional intelligence”) Brown. And apparently Michelle Obama is  taking off her gardening gloves to join her husband’s fight to regain popularity.