November 2014 | Nano Tools | Leadership
Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes — with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.
Contributor: Thomas Donaldson, PhD, The Mark O. Winkelman Professor, Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Improve communication with employees to ensure that you’re in the loop, hearing bad (and good) news before it’s too late.
Disastrous organizational public revelations make headlines, and often bring corporations to the brink of destruction. For those hit by an ethical corporate relations disaster, two things are true:
The key issue is why critical information fails to flow upward to executives. Research clearly shows that an employee’s feeling of pressure to commit unethical acts is strongly correlated with his or her conception of the ethics of top leadership. In turn, an employee’s conception of those ethics is often formed more by personal impressions than by ethical “pronouncements” from the top. It is those personal impressions that can and should be directed by top executives themselves.
The most effective way to create a positive impression — and to avoid critical communication lapses — is to make a habit of finding unplanned, casual moments with employees (known as “being there”). How an executive treats employees in the elevator or at the parking lot can make all the difference between hearing (and having the time to act), and not hearing. Leaders should seize opportunities to “be there.”
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