Yes Men/Women Play Role in Scandals
By George Anderson
Pretty much everyone knows the story about the emperor who walked around naked because his court and subjects were too afraid to tell him his new clothes were no clothes at all.
According to Doug Lennick, coauthor of Moral Intelligence with Fred Kiel (Wharton, 2005), many of the ethical lapses that have taken place in the corporate world in recent years have a similar story line — executives enabled by underlings who do not tell them when they’ve gone too far.
“It’s not so much a matter of one being intoxicated by the power. It’s [a matter of] one being sheltered from the feedback,” he told The Christian Science Monitor.
Sydney Finkelstein, professor of leadership and strategy at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, said many are trapped by their ego and maintaining what they perceive to be their public image. “Acknowledging to the world that you’re not quite as successful as you thought, and as everyone else thought, is unacceptable,” said Prof. Finkelstein.
To avoid ethical lapses, experts such as Dallas Willard, a Christian philosopher at the University of Southern California and author of books such as The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God and contributor to the new Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible, suggest business leaders have at least one person in close contact to help keep them on the moral high ground.
He also suggests leaders answer two questions as part of a daily journal: “When have I served the good of my function [as a family member or professional, for instance]? And when have I served myself?”
Moderator’s Comment: What can those in business leadership positions do to prevent ethical lapses on their part or on the part of others in their organizations?
George Anderson – Moderator