In my last blog, I wrote about how the drama surrounding City of Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford is being played out on a world stage. But he’s not the only one. Other recent stories of leaders like Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner show how bad leadership behavior can severely undermine the trust and confidence that people have in a leader.
In Spitzer’s case, a propensity to consort with escorts cost him a job as governor of New York. In Weiner’s case, it cost him his run for the mayor’s job of New York City.
However, this is not a fate suffered just by politicians; business leaders are just as vulnerable. People still talk about former Hewlett Packard CEO Mark Hurd, who was unceremoniously dumped in 2010 after he was accused of sexual harassment by a female marketing consultant. The termination not only hurt Hurd’s career; many industry observers believe H.P. has never recovered from losing a dynamic leader like Hurd.
Many business leaders have the power, influence and money to engage in all kinds of vices. However, only a true leader is smart enough to resist those temptations. And as a leader if you don’t manage your temptations, they will end up controlling you and your fate.
So what can we do as leaders?
The first step begins with an honest self-assessment to understand what tempts you. Is it power, money, greed, success, and fame? Is it sex, alcohol or drugs? It’s important that you are absolutely open to confronting these issues with yourself.
Establish a Confidant to Call You Out
The next step is to identify one or two close confidants who will not be afraid to give you the straight goods should you ever stray by any temptation. Too many times powerful leaders are surrounded by a bubble where those closest to them tell them only what they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear.
Finally, if you succumb, get help before your vice brings you down. The world today is more complex than ever before. The pressures leaders face day to day are intense and real. You can understand how one can succumb in a time of weakness. As a result, you need to manage your temptations before they do you in.
Follow me @VinceMolinaro
About the Author
Vince Molinaro is the Global Managing Director of Strategic Solutions at Lee Hecht Harrison. He is also the author of The Leadership Contract – a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Vince has spent more than 20 years as an adviser to boards and senior executives looking to improve leadership in their organizations.Follow on Twitter More Content by Vince Molinaro