Daily BulletinHoliday Centre

The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation
imageHow lapses of leadership integrity are viewed depends on how popular or valuable the "culprit" is to a business, investors, brand, society or power groups.AAP/Joe Castro

As James Hird falls on his sword, relinquishing his treasured role of Essendon coach amid a mix of grief and relief, the question remains what went wrong for a leader known for his integrity, on the sporting field at least.

In the end it was Essendon’s record on the field that has proven Hird’s undoing. But how did Hird come to agree to a questionable regime of treatments for his charges? Was he thinking of the risks and consequences to those athletes he was leading? Was he aware or paying attention to the due diligence when decisions were made?

Humans can feel “compelled to comply” by the context they are in, as illustrated in the infamous Stanley Milgram experiments and countless examples throughout history.

Every day, leaders somewhere risk the health and safety of their followers and people opt to blow or not blow the whistle. Weighing up the complex demands of decisions where two or more options are equally attractive or unattractive, causes cognitive dissonance.

The result is difficulty in deciding which way to go, and responses range from impulsivity to paralysis to relieving the ambiguity of the situation. Such dissonance would be experienced by coaches seeking a competitive edge by developing athletes using a range of programs to reach supreme fitness, health and performance whilst simultaneously knowing there are risks and consequences.

Moral dilemmas are common; whether we act with courage or compliance depends on a whole range of factors in any given situation. Societies, groups and individuals decide (develop norms) to determine if is acceptable to make racist or other derogatory statements about people or groups in private, but not in public.

Leadership implies doing something for and with followers, showing integrity means doing the right thing or being consistent across contexts with all the people in the leaders’ influence and whether in public or private. It is not easy to resist the tide of group behaviour or our own natural patterns.

Examples of private selves leaking into the public images have been captured by video or audio where political and sport leaders have shown lapses in judgement that led them to say or do something that revealed perhaps their true rather than espoused values. Recall the politician who smelled a chair of a female colleague or another who opted to take a helicopter to a Liberal party fundraiser in Geelong.

In sport there has been reference to animals along with public derision of Sydney Swans player and Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes. People would be unlikely to make public expressions of racism alone or with a camera on them, but when in a group or not aware of what is around us, those cracks in integrity appear.

Claims of “lapses” have been variously excused depending on how popular or valuable the “culprit” is to a business, investors, brand, society or power groups. Contrast the defence of Eddie McGuire, a valuable brand and let off the hook by many, with Nick Krygios, who has been severely criticised for the sledging of a contestant. Krygios is clearly seen as a valuable sport commodity, but not good for “Brand Australia”, so he has been universally rounded upon.

How other “leaders” come to their defence and excuse or criticise such behaviour illustrates slipping and shifting leadership integrity principles depending on the person displaying the behaviour rather than the actual behaviours. So we need conversations about leadership integrity and to consider the implications of pervasive inconsistencies that apply to people, rather than behaviours that weaken claims of integrity in society, sport and business.

James Hird, despite his solid record of integrity and fairness, is not the first and won’t be the last to have his leadership and integrity decisions made public, scrutinised and challenged. If there had been cameras on him when he made his decision to the treatment (if indeed he did), the decision might have been different.

The situation at Essendon was not an emergency or a disaster where leaders have to make decisions under pressure so errors can be excused; this was likely a decision made over a period of time in several contexts and involving a number of people. The integrity of those involved and their decision as well as the systems and procedures around these moved from private to public examination and have been deflected on to James.

As with many enduring stories with multiple episodes and a cast of thousands, James is the leading man and the elusive “truth” in his leadership integrity is for the time being hidden behind signed agreements until sometime in the future when another truth is told. “History is written by the victors” is an often quoted phrase and for the moment the story is half-told - but the script will be an unfolding leadership-integrity case study for years to come.

James Hird’s resignation is similarly a story of leadership integrity; this narrative is about doing something for his club, the fans and the players. The decision was likely a mix of agony, expediency, care for others, exhaustion, having no alternative or being worn down by the pressures. Whatever the reason, this emerging exemplar of leadership integrity illustrates the real point that authentically showing integrity across all contexts is rare, difficult and potentially traumatic and takes a toll that few people including James can withstand.

Elisabeth Wilson-Evered receives funding from Monash University

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/james-hird-and-the-elusive-truth-about-leadership-integrity-46330

INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

The Conversation

Politics

Scott Morrison at National Press Club

ADDRESS, NATIONAL PRESS CLUB NATIONAL PRESS CLUB, ACT WEDNESDAY 29 JANUARY 2020   PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much Sabra, and thank you for all attending here today. I am particularly conscio...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison on Credlin

PETA CREDLIN: Thank you for your time tonight, PM I know you've got a lot on your plate. I'll get to the issue of bushfires in just a moment, but I can't let it go unremarked that with Australia Day...

Peta Credlin - avatar Peta Credlin

Scott Morrison interview with Ray Hadley

RAY HADLEY: Prime Minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: G’day Ray.    HADLEY: Jeez you copped a hammering while I was away.   PRIME MINISTER: Goes with the job mate.    HADLEY: Well, yo...

Ray Hadley - avatar Ray Hadley

Business News

A Checklist for Setting Up your Own Business

If you have had enough of the 9-5 grind and figure that you can do better by going it alone, you certainly wouldn’t be alone in your thinking. Many Australians have successfully made the transition ...

News Company - avatar News Company

Workplace Bullying: What Are Your Options?

Workplace Bullying: What Are Your Options? Workplace bullying is something no employee ever wants to experience. Unfortunately, it is an all too common occurrence in many workplaces around the nati...

News Company - avatar News Company

How to Design a Website That Best Represents Your Business

A business website is the modern equivalent of a traditional brick and mortar storefront. Since the majority of businesses today need an online presence, it is essential to choose a design that best...

News Company - avatar News Company

Travel

A Travel Guide for Vacations Overseas

There are two types of tourists. Of course, that's a sweeping generalization, and we could be talking about any possible part of traveling.  In this case, we're discussing those who stick to the ma...

News Company - avatar News Company

The Family Travel Handbook from Lonely Planet

Everything you need to know to take unforgettable trips with your children   Full of practical advice, ideas and inspiration for every type of family, Lonely Planet's The Family Travel Handbook ...

Adam Bennett - avatar Adam Bennett

3 Ideas for a Family-Friendly Holiday to Bali

A family holiday is always an exciting time, but it can often come with its fair share of challenges, especially when trying to keep every member of the family happy. Thankfully, the beautiful islan...

News Company - avatar News Company

ShowPo