The right thing after the fact is too late
The sporting headlines this week have reminded us of a fundamental principle of leadership…that of doing the right thing, however inconvenient that may be.
Sadly the headlines and behaviours we’ve seen have had little to do with the Corinthian spirit at the heart of sport (at least to me) or the so-called ‘beautiful game’ of football (I happen to believe it is but I’m a fan).
Instead we’ve seen the leadership of 12 of the world’s biggest football clubs – some of them truly iconic – try to muscle their way to a financially advantageous change benefitting a chosen few, namely themselves, with little regard for their wider stakeholders including the members of their own organisations – players, coaches, fans.
Subsequently, we’ve seen some of them ‘doing the right thing after the fact’. This is an unseemly shuffle that is characterised by humble apologies and talk of mis-steps.
And though football may not be real life, leadership is leadership wherever it shows up and that’s about responsibility to and for the many not just self-interest.
Whatever our organisation is, does, exists for, it is part of a much bigger picture – connected and connecting with a web of life. If we’re leading we need to be paying attention to this web or system, understanding that what we decide ripples through the system, changing it, affecting our stakeholders.
That means turning away from values that support self-interest, attachment to power or greed and stepping into a mind-set where every element of the system is valued, accorded equal dignity and our consciousness is applied to doing the right thing for all. This way of being is essential to our leadership and to our positive contribution to the world.