Management Humility

kinnon —  September 26, 2005 — Leave a comment

How often do we hear about leaders admitting to making a mistake? And then working hard to correct that mistake?

CHFI is an MOR radio station in Toronto (that I worked for briefly while at university) that had a very popular morning show host, Erin Davis. As stations are wont to do, she was fired two years ago in favour of a “hipper” team. The audience reacted angrily to her departure and the show’s ratings tanked. About six weeks ago, I began to notice billboards announcing Erin’s return to the station. I was surprised. This isn’t a normal turn of events. The Globe and Mail’s Wallace Immen tells the story:

Behind Ms. Davis’s dismissal was Julie Adam, the general manager and program director of CHFI, who fired the light-rock station’s drive-time star in June, 2003, replacing her with a pair of urban hipsters, then known as Mad Dog and Billie, from a sister Rogers station with an edgier sound.

And behind Ms. Davis’s return is the same Ms. Adam, who not only wooed her back but admitted “I made a mistake. A big one” as part of a public apology posted on the station’s website to the radio star and her fans.

Immen goes on to say:

Managers who own up to their mistakes, apologize and learn from them, rather than covering them up, will find that it works in their favour, says Dorothy Hutt, director of the Ottawa office of executive coaching firm Collaborative Leadership Institute Inc.

“With all that is happening in the world, people are asking for leaders to be more responsible for their actions, and there is a real hunger for leaders who inspire. When openness is real, it generates trust and people will be inspired to do their best,” Ms. Hutt says.

Too many leaders have too much of their own egos invested in their positions. They couldn’t possibly admit that they are wrong. The sad thing in this Cluetrain world is that the rest of us already know the truth. (And are blogging about it.) We can spot the Emperor’s New Clothes in a nanosecond. Transparency is the only answer and ultimately the transparent leader benefits more than the “infallible” idiot*. (*Tom Peter’s & Napoleon Dynamite’s word.)

Thanks to a good buddy of mine in Winnipeg for pointing out this Toronto Story!

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

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