A Leadership Tip to Prevent the ‘Code of Dishonour’

‘The fabric of decency is torn’.

We are outraged at those in power who have permitted a culture that lacks integrity, decency, grace, humility, honesty.

But is that the result of our complacency? Is our complacency  ‘the friend and enabler of those in authority who wish to take advantage of others?’

Have we been distracted by our own ‘busyness’ such that we haven’t stopped to scrutinise and question? Unfortunately, ‘too few of us bother to check and compare, to hold the powers that be to account.’

For our own comfort, on the pathway of least expenditure of effort, we have assumed that everyone ‘plays by the rules’, when really not many of us do.

‘Those in power aren’t following the rules and it is breeding a trickle-down effect.’

If all of us are susceptible to cutting little corners from time to time (to ensure slightly better outcomes for ourselves) in ways that we can easily explain away or justify, then it becomes easier to understand how those in positions of more power and knowledge are going to feel comfortable to cut bigger corners.

If we can’t be disciplined enough to hear the voice of our own ‘Jiminy Cricket’ on our shoulders then at least we can be courageous enough to ask a trusted peer to be our critical colleague and humble enough to regularly invite and respectfully consider their feedback.

I think this is one of the hallmarks of great leadership – to purposefully gather and surround oneself with people of integrity and continually be giving them permission to question and challenge. The marker of a constructive leadership group culture is for each person in that group to be critical colleagues for each other and then to also have their own external critical colleague/mentor. It would be expected that each mentor would also have their own independent critical colleague/mentor such that no one being entrusted to provide challenging feedback to others is not experiencing this for themselves. .

Being surrounded by ‘yes’ people and people like ourselves is very comforting but does not offer the growth or the real, tangible (personal and business) benefits that come from continually being challenged to think critically and act ethically.

It’s time to become uncomfortable and take up the challenge to invite at least one wise objector into your leadership circle. And then be prepared to listen to them without putting up your defences.

*Quotes taken from Nikki Gemmell, ‘Code of Dishonour” Weekend Australian Magazine, April 21-22, 2018

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