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Can One Employee Take Your Company Down?

Your company is doing great work. It is creating jobs where they didn’t exist before… you are contributing to the betterment of society… have you considered whether or not one employee could bring that all to a screeching halt?

Since February of 2017, with the recording of Travis Kalanick’s (former CEO of Uber) poor behavior as he berated an Uber driver, displayed all across America, there have been frequent episodes of bad behavior demonstrated by numerous corporate leaders. In just the last month we’ve seen:

  • Adam Neumann, the CEO of WeWork was forced to step down after the filing of the company’s pre-IPO paperwork shone a light on suspect financial dealings which ultimately benefitted Mr. Neumann to the tune of millions of dollars. The IPO was withdrawn, the company has laid off over 4000 employees, and its estimated value dropped 40 billion in the blink of an eye. See more here.
  • The Houston Astros baseball team fired their assistant General Manager for verbally attacking 3 female reporters after a pennant win in October. In addition to a social media onslaught faulting the organization and how it handled the incident (initially accusing one reporter of fabricating the incident and then taking 3 days to admit to it and holding the AGM accountable), the team will be fined by Major League Baseball, and the way that the incident was handled is now inviting scrutiny of the company’s culture, which will result in further public relations embarrassment and could see the departure of many others in leadership positions in the organization. This incident, and the stress it caused the whole organization, may have just cost the team the 2019 World Series. See more here.
  • The CEO of McDonald’s resigned this past week, saying this: “Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on.” The values of the company? The values, that as CEO, he was most-responsible for upholding? See more here.

Now, you might argue that these are people in positions of power and it is often the case that with power comes the belief that you are above “following the rules.” But a leader is also responsible for the “unwritten rule” that he or she sets the acceptable behaviors and culture of an organization through their example.

When Does It Start?

We cannot assume that only those in the “higher echelon” are behaving badly (and costing their companies money as well as reputation). Think of the myriad of “little” ethical violations that occur in companies daily: taking home office supplies, failing to report a breakdown in product or process because “it’s not my job,” refusing to cooperate with another department or colleague, giving a customer favorable terms over other customers, the list could go on and on. At what point does a “little” ethical violation bloom into something that is egregious and damaging to your company financially or reputationally?

These types of incidents are precisely the reason why The Training Doctor created its Leadership From Day One development approach. By developing leadership behaviors such as ethics, decision making, and self-management early in one’s career, incidents like these should not occur down the line. If all of your employees are immersed in a culture that supports the good of all (the company, its employees and customers), you’ll make a bigger impact on the world and sleep better at night.

Are you at risk?

As a business owner, do you presume that your employees are behaving ethically? Do you know your organization’s culpability from actions committed by your employees? Especially your senior/leader employees who have more of a “platform” to do harm to the company?

It is never, never too soon to start developing leadership characteristics in your workforce. Don’t wait until you’ve already promoted someone to a leadership role to start to foster the skills they need to lead themselves as well as others; it is harder to rewire behavior than it is to develop it from the start. When you start leadership development early in your employee’s careers, it becomes an ingrained and reflexive behavior as they move up through the ranks.

Go to our contact us page if you’d like help establishing a leadership development program that starts with everybody. Today.