Admit When You Are Wrong

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No leadership role is easy or straightforward, there are always obstacles and problems along the way – what shows a leader’s true worth, and character is how they deal with it. The very best leaders always head towards the problem and will admit when they are feeling vulnerable and wrong. Retaining the trust of your people is vital, throughout the ups and downs – unfortunately, we are seeing several leaders struggle to succeed with this.

The news has been filled with the Royal family as of late, unfortunately not for pleasant reasons. Since December, the Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, has not been quite as active in the public eye as usual – it is understood that she underwent surgery, but updates and statements have been lacking, it’s led to worry, confusion and questioning from thousands across the nation. Her silence was broken with a Mother’s Day photo posted online, but the relief of an update was cut short as it was caught to be tampered with.

Initially, edits on photos seem normal, but with the concerns over the Princess’ condition, her apology, admitting to editing the photo only sparked more concern – especially as we are yet to see or hear from her. It’s led to a mix of emotions from the nation, many do not believe she altered the photos – whether you believe it was her that doctored the photo or not, questions about the ‘leadership’ at the Palace must be asked. Tampering with online images, with a lack of transparency about her absence is only keeping everyone worried and losing trust in our leaders.

The Royals are losing the public’s trust, and given their public duty, they very much have a responsibility to keep their people updated and aware of what is going on. The transparency is lacking and has led to some very unfortunate rumours and theories about her absence – the public will always have something to say, and they are being given more reason to doubt and raise their voice.

Business has yet again seen another example of failed leadership. Boeing are currently facing criminal investigation for multiple reports from passengers and pilots raising issues with production due to multiple exit door blowouts mid-flight. The first instance was in January – only one incident was enough to raise alarm bells from colleagues and passengers over the faulty production of Boeing planes.

Boeing themselves have failed to admit they have production issues, despite colleagues utilising their ‘speak out’ programme to call out the issues within the business.

The warning signs for Boeing have been there for them to deal with – FAA have confronted them over the dangers of improper installations during production within the planes and more recently, Captain Dennis Tajer made his own concerns known, stating “I’m at an alert status that I’ve never had to be in on a Boeing airplane. Because I don’t trust that they’ve followed the processes that have previously kept me safe on Boeing airplanes for over three decades.”

In addition to this, concerns over the environment and culture at Boeing have also come to light. Former senior manager, Adam Dickson revealed “The culture at Boeing has been toxic to trust for over a decade now,” He followed the statement to claim “You can add safety steps, you can add procedures. But the fundamental issue of distrust makes those changes almost ineffective”.

Boeing have a lot to handle here, and a lot to admit, yet their protection of their corporate reputation is getting in the way. It’s one thing having issues with your products, it’s another when lives are at risk. Every business, every leader, and every colleague have a responsibility – their contribution can make or break their company, and if things continue, Boeing could break thanks to the lack of transparency of their leadership. Their colleagues have courageously found their voice, and they are showing greater signs of leadership. The leaders have completely lost their people, and it may now be time for them to step away and let others take over to fix what has become a career ending scandal.

It’s extremely important for Boeing to learn a huge lesson here. Admitting when you’re wrong shows strength not weakness. Denying such huge problems never ends well – there becomes a divide within the business and suddenly the leadership is lost. True leaders go to the problem, they do not run from it. This also applies to the Palace. Honesty has always been the best policy.

These stories in the news this week are not to be taken lightly – two very different, but very serious cases of leadership lacking transparency, and failing to fess up to wrongdoings. Leaders come in different forms, within business, sports, or politics – one thing will always remain, put your people first.


Thought of the week:

All businesses require more doers than thinkers at the top

Tips for becoming an A player:

  • Keep trying and you’ll keep learning
  • Strive to be better everyday
  • Value difference
  • Learn to step out of your comfort zone
  • Never boast about ignorance



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