“The most important thing about leadership is your character and the values that guide your life.” ~ Brenda Barnes
The above quote really sums up what leadership is to me because a title alone does not make you a leader. A person can have a title and people can report into them and they think this makes them a leader but without the internal characteristics they will eventually be exposed as a fraud. Recently Scott Morrison was called out for not accepting any cut to his $549,000 salary despite thousands of workers struggling during this time. What kind of message does this send?
Sadly I recently read something similar about the CEO of a not-for-profit organisation here in New Zealand. He is on three quarters of a million per year.; considerably less than CEOs in private organisations but hardly struggling to make ends meet. The staff were all asked to accept pay freezes (from the board down) but he, and the rest of his leadership team, all received their bonuses for the year. The CEOs bonus by the way was $160,000. This really stuck in the craw of the some of the workers because they leaked the story to sftuff.co.nz. Again, what message does this send? Here’s what one of the employees stated in the article: “When all the employees were let know that there would be no salary increase this year, we did agree with the board and management as we wanted to be frugal to keep us all employed and in (the) black,” they said.
“How (would) employees like me who are in the $60,000 range feel when the CEO takes a bonus pay when he gets more than 10 times our pay?”
In response to this the CEO responded, “It’s incredibly disappointing that one individual has elected to raise these concerns with a member of the media, rather than with your leadership. You have hopefully seen in recent weeks that we strive for transparency and openness in this organisation. Had we been asked directly we would have responded. We don’t always get it right but, please; if you are unhappy about any part of your work with us, speak to your leader, to their leader or to our people and culture team; not to the media.”
Unfortunately this response just doesn’t cut it – there’s no explanation, just platitudes. I can imagine the chasm of distrust that has opened between leadership and staff because of this action. If there was trust the person might very well have raised this with the leadership team. It is clear the CEO and leadership team are out of touch with their staff – imagine asking your people to take a pay freeze (we’re all in this together!) and then accepting a bonus 2.5 times the salary of one of your staff members?
You cannot fake leadership. It’s possible to be that charismatic leader, to say the right things and fool people for some of the time but eventually your character and value system will always come through. As a leader are you clear on your values? Who are you as a leader and what does genuine authenticity mean to you?
If you’d like to know more about how to achieve more in life or business, or if you’d like to explore how coaching can help you become a better leader (of others or yourself!), or even if you’re just generally curious about what professional coaching can offer you, please contact us at any time for a free consultation.
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