Passing the Baton

How leaders ensure continuity and seal their legacy

The most recent JSA blog ended by mentioning Nelson Mandela and his 27-year imprisonment, which helped him to prepare to be the leader of the new South Africa in 1994. What it did not mention was the incredible fact that after waiting so long, he served only one five-year term before making way for his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. 

Not only do great global leaders take responsibility and decisive action during their reigns of power but they also ensure that their good work will continue long after they are gone by carefully planning for their succession and grooming their successors. 

A recent example of this comes from the most popular sport in the world: football (or soccer as it is known in the USA).

Last month, Sir Alex Ferguson, who is one of most well known, successful and feared managers on the planet, suddenly announced his retirement as the coach of Manchester United, which is in turn one of the richest and most widely followed teams in the universe. It has no less than 14 different nations represented in its first team squad. (No hyperbole here, of course, although this blogger does need to confess that he has been a rabid fan of his home town club for most of his 54 years).

F-SAF-4

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Leaders Behaving Badly, Part 2

The second in a series of two blogs about why global leaders fall down and how they can stand up again

In a week where people around the world are decrying the behavior of Algerian terrorist leader Moktar Belmoktar, puzzling over the mea culpa of fallen cycling hero Lance Armstrong, celebrating the inauguration of Barack Obama’s second term as US president and praising Bulgarian politician Ahmed Dogan’s single-handed disarming of a point-blank assassin, it seems very timely to continue this examination of bad and good leadership and how it relates to failure, rehabilitation, renewed hope and different kinds of success.  

In the first blog of this two-part series, we explored what makes leaders at the pinnacle of their careers abuse their power and risk their reputation and why it seems that more and more of them are getting found out – http://jeremysolomons.com/samples/.

This second blog will delve into what tainted leaders can do to stand up again once they have fallen and more importantly, what current and future leaders can do to stay on the high road and avoid this kind of irresponsible behavior altogether.

Much has been written about the kind of qualities that leaders of the present and the future need to be effective in an increasingly globalized and cyber-connected world.

For every power hungry politician or cheating soccer player, fortunately there are many heart-warming stories of leaders just doing the right thing, such as Malawi President Joyce Banda’s untiring struggle for women’s rights or the unusual honesty of German soccer player Miroslav Klose, who was awarded a goal in a close game in Italy but then freely admitted that he had handled the ball on its way in. The referee duly disallowed the goal and shook his hand.

But what about new or experienced leaders who have allowed themselves to get caught behaving badly?

Public humiliation and shame can bring out the best and unfortunately the worst in a fallen leader.

The first step towards rehabilitation is usually full disclosure and a sincere apology in both public and private to all of those affected.

F-OPRAH-LANCE

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Leaders Behaving Badly

The first in a series of two blogs about why global leaders fall down and how they can stand up again

 

Barely a week goes by without news of some prominent leader somewhere in the world getting caught behaving badly and having to pay a hefty price for his – most sinners are male – transgression.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi

In the last month alone, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has gone from the hero of ceasefire negotiations between Hamas and Israel to the target of mass protests after an unprecedented power grab at home; the prestigious British Broadcasting Corporation fired its director general George Entwistle in the wake of a series of uncharacteristic reporting scandals; widely respected US Army general David Petraeus resigned after revelations of an extramarital affair; and even the world’s most popular sport has had to deal with the fallout from openly racist behavior of star players in England and brazen cheating by highly paid forwards throughout Europe.

In this first blog of a two-part series, we will explore what makes these leaders and others at the pinnacle of their careers abuse their power and risk their reputation and why it seems that more and more of them are getting found out.

The second blog will delve into what these and other tainted leaders can do to stand up again once they have fallen and more importantly,what current and future leaders can do to stay on the high road and avoid this kind of irresponsible behavior altogether. 

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Leadership Lessons from the US Presidential Debates

The three recent US presidential debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were each watched by about 60 million people in the USA and many more millions on TV and the web around the world.

They may not have decided the eventual outcome of the closely fought election on November 6 but they have given us some invaluable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of both contenders as a future global leader.

The media pundits have already ripped each candidate to shreds for all their supposed missteps and mistakes. So this column will take an even-handed look at what both men did right:

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