Are you a natural leader, one your team happily follow to success, or is your position maintained by constant reminders that you’re in charge? A bossy boss – one who demands they are treated with authority – is never in a position of strength. The sole focus of a bossy boss is ‘I’ – the [...]
In findings that may dampen spirits in the C-Suites of the kingdom (and more than a few republics), CEOs are – with the exception of media spokespeople – currently the least trusted sources of information, according to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer. As Management Today reported: “Trust in businesses and business leaders is on the wane, the report found, but the group the public does trust to tell them the truth about a company is its employees” The Edelman report’s introductory section pulls few punches, even in its sub-title: “An Implosion of Trust”. After what it acknowledges as being a year of ‘unprecedented upheaval’, the report seems little surprised by human reaction to a world where heads of state have rolled, the Panama papers were released, elections and referendums brought widespread shock and a combination of rising fake news and falling advertising revenue undermined mainstream media. The ‘news’ – although that doesn’t feel like exactly the right word – is that the sense that the world is heading in the wrong direction is increasingly widespread. In finding that 53% judged that ‘the system is not working’, Edelman is not the only organisation to feel the pulse of the global public mood. In a worldwide a October 2016 Ipsos survey, What Worries the World, 61% of respondents said their country was on the ‘wrong track’ – 60% of Britons agreed. The main worries varied between the 25 profiled countries (the most frequently raised was not – as it is uniquely in the UK – immigration, but unemployment, with poverty and inequality also frequently highly ranked.) […]
Without trust, there’s no need to assess truth – why leadership behaviours matter Dictionaries don’t often make headline news, but Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is an annual exception – an easy attention-grabbing article that can congratulate itself on seizing the zeitgeist. If newspaper columnists and web editors felt an ironic chill climb their spines as they reported this year’s winner – post-truth – it was probably their relief that the acronym ‘MSM’ (MainStream Media, almost invariably used derogatorily) wasn’t selected instead. Oxford’s definition, however, is worth pondering: post-truth (adjective) Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. Before 2016, we weren’t strangers to being urged to ‘believe’, usually in the context of believing in something so vigorously that it would come true. Quite often, the context was celebrity. (As the Guardian pointed out recently, this has also been The Year of The Snowflake, and of delicate princesses of all genders.) 2016 has, as with so many things, turned this power of belief on its head. Believing now trumps – and what other verb could we use? – empirical fact. Forensic science be damned, evidence is now a thing of the past. Looking back as the year draws to a close, it seems reasonable to ask if this really is the year of ‘post-truth’ or if this is a symptom of something deeper – that this is the year of ‘post-trust’. In one of the year’s most notable quotes back in June, the then Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, declared in a Sky News interview that: “[…] people in this country have had enough of experts.” There was a context, of course: the divisive EU Referendum campaign, in which dismissing all expert opinion may have seemed a quicker route to sealing an argument that presenting a counter-case, but quotes have a habit of resonating even when they’ve been shorn from their original setting. But in courting feeling, emotion and opinion over fact, we run a risk of undermining not just experts but facts themselves: disbelieving something is not the same as disproving it. […]
We can all think of a celebrity or two who has forgotten that they are in the public eye and wound up losing the support (and the money) of sponsors who helped to keep them there. Tigers Woods may be the best a man can get on a fairway, but Gillette concluded that better men were available to grace its advertising. More recently, US swimmer Ryan Lochte has seen his swimwear sponsorship float away after less than ideal behaviour: there is only so much that a Speedo can be expected to conceal, as their statement made clear: “While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behaviour that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for.” In an era so given to talk about ‘the brand’, advertising has become a battlefield over the values different brands have associated themselves with – or been associated with by others – and this can cut both ways. While there are plentiful examples of advertisers who have pulled campaigns to signal their ethical dissatisfaction (the wide criticism over racial representation issues in the VH1 TV programme, Sorority Sisters, led to pulling of adverts from several major advertisers), Buzzfeed recently announced that it will not accept advertising for Donald Trump’s election campaign. “While not expecting to “agree with the positions or values of all our advertisers”, Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti wasn’t above making an exception: “The Trump campaign is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world and in some cases, such as his proposed ban on international travel for Muslims, would make it impossible for our employees to do their jobs.” While there are undoubtedly hard, measurable costs to these kinds of actions (a rumoured $1.3m in the case of Buzzfeed), another term from the balance sheet needs to born in mind: goodwill. We’ve previously commented on the now infamous Business Insider interview with the (now ex-)Saatchi man, Kevin Roberts, about women, ambition, the advertising industry and gender equality, and about the furore it has created. As the majority of this commentary has come from other agencies, it would be a naïve reader who did not suspect an element of virtue-signalling in these responses – if the problem is so widespread, how can so many agencies be such angels? – but there is a more important issue here. […]
Back in April 2010, we wrote about the MacLeod Review, a government review into the complex and timely issue of employee engagement. Judging by the frequency with which we read about the topic in the HR/L&D press – and are even requested to comment or write for the same media outlets ourselves – it is not in that category of organisational issues that we can mark down as essentially a fad. On the contrary, engagement is the issue that will not go away. But are organisations listening to the sources that provide evidence of the need to make changes (or even the benefits of doing so)? The verdict is less clear.
One of the long-standing conundrums of life in the workplace is the gap that exists between managers’ perceptions and those of their employees. Some middle-managers also find themselves having to act as buffers between a 'bad boss' and the staff who report to them. Middle-managers may not be natural born tailwaggers, but they do share something with puppies: treat them badly for long enough and they’ll stop loving or respecting you.
Rittenhouse’s charts and blog posts, tracking the candor analysis rankings of top companies against their performance, makes for interesting reading and is often persuasive. It’s also interesting to see recent moves in the rankings: Google are plummeting in recent times, while 3M are travelling in a more positive direction. And yet, and yet …