Reputation and the role of Leadership

Paul Kelly - February 3, 2016

As our newly anointed Australian of the year, David Morrison said

“The standard you walk past is the standard you accept”.

This statement, together with the recently publicised claims by a sacked ANZ trader that the bank ignored formally raised concerns about poor behaviour shine a light on obligations of our corporate leaders.

This case was eloquently referred to in the AFR on 27th January by Peter Wilson from a Human Resources perspective.

The questions raised by Peter go much further though than Human Resources – they are fundamental questions for leaders and about reputation.

While the facts of the ANZ case are yet to be fully revealed, there is great public and corporate interest in answers to the following questions :

1. How offensive and systematic and widespread was the alleged poor behaviour?
2. How were formal and informal complaints about this behaviour dealt with?
3. How were informants treated?
4. Who knew about the alleged behaviour?
5. What did they do with that information?
6. Was any alleged poor behaviour covered up?

This recently publicised case highlights the critical obligation leaders have in any organisation to genuinely adhere to the standards that they regularly vocalise.

And to show transparency, grace and dignity in their dealings with those who blow the whistle.

We deserve leaders who are active, constructive and principled and do more than just vocalise values.