He’s been dubbed “Chicken of the Sea” by the media. We are horrified by behavior of the captain of the Italian ship that led to the death of innocent people and a terror-filled few hours for thousands of others. I’d like to think that this captain is an aberration and the honor and courage the Italian rescuers demonstrate the good in humanity.
The contrast in character between people plays out every day in the business world. Successful businesses rely on competent leadership. We have an expectation that tribal leaders will be strong and committed to the survival of the community. Our contract, unless we live under despots, is that our leaders will use their skills for the good of all – and protect the weaker among us so all make it safely to shore. Anger over disproportionate CEO pay and corporate profitability fuels the Occupy movement – and flaws in corporate governance tipped the ship of our economy.
I believe that most people are well-intentioned but here are some ideas about how to navigate your leadership decisions in a business context:
- Be true to yourself: if you are entrusted with leadership or a position of accountability to others (even it it’s making sure that the widget is in the right box) make sure you are giving your best for the good of all. This is not only the right thing to do – integrity pays off.
- Align with honorable people: In my book, Unsinkable, I discuss a point in my career where I decided I would only work for people whom I loved and respected. If you are living at your highest and best self that is who you will attract. If you have a few people in your life who operate with compromised integrity then focus your own actions and see how you can pull away – you will be surprised how quickly they will disappear from your life.
- Stand your ground and look around: if you think the captain of your ship lacks integrity — don’t participate and get your resume out there. You need better role models and someone you can trust at the helm.
- If you are in a leadership position take a lesson from Alcoholics Anonymous. Begin a fearless and searching morale inventory. How can you stay with the ship and protect those who depend on you?