The last week has seen something of a media inferno with the phone hacking scandal and subsequent demise of the News of the World (NOTW). Irrespective of the specific issues involved in the story, it unfortunately some would say, brings to an end more than 160 years of UK media history (see BBC – News of The World; An Obituary). A sad indictment of today’s commonplace management methods, if only from the historical point of view. However, it also illustrates the modern phenomenon that is people power, strengthened and fueled by social media.
Despite many Executive Officers up and down the country breathing another sigh of relief today, as additional ‘evidence’ emerged to prove the well-known fact, shit only ever runs downhill, who should really shoulder the responsibility for this mess? Is the term vicarious liability actually a myth? Whatever the reply, it’s probably a question that hasn’t had an adequate answer for some time.
The ‘liability’ or responsibility aspect of management is a skill/trait that (sadly) many would say, hasn’t existed in the training and/or minds of modern-day blame shifting managers for years. There was a time when ethics, morality and integrity featured as traits within great leadership, or was that just a pipe dream?
It’s hardly surprising therefore that Rebekah Brooks et al, appear to be doing the usual effluent sidestep. As the information in the public domain expands, it appears Andy Coulson may now not be so lucky in avoiding a smattering of crap however; Ms Brooks does seem hell-bent on trying to protect her own self-importance and status… Smacks of a Sharon Shoesmith methodology to me? As one reader of the BBC article (above) wrote; “Surely removing everyone who WASNT involved at the time is hardly “putting their house in order” but what’s new? To my mind, once again this whole disgusting affair raises some important management issues, across all business sectors.
In my experience I have found these traits on the increase over recent years. They are non more so prevalent than within the public sector, and in particular within the police. Just this week, the Police Superintendent’s Association told the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), at their annual conference in Harrogate: “No matter how good your business plan, it is the people that matter” (see here). Despite all the courses, seminars and personal development schemes, many managers (often reluctantly) simply talk the talk, whilst consistently failing to walk the walk of effective management and trusted leadership.
Many modern-day leaders (at the top of their chosen career ladder) would do well to remember; many of the mighty have also unceremoniously fallen. Getting to the top by climbing all over others and casting people aside like refuse is not big and it’s not clever. However, given current selection and development methods, I suspect it’s likely to be endemic in our leadership structures for some years to come!
- James Murdoch: News Of The World Will Publish Its Final Edition This Sunday (mediaite.com)
- News of the World: James Murdoch’s statement about newspaper closing in full (mirror.co.uk)
- Rebekah Brooks backtracks on admission about police payments (independent.co.uk)
- News of the World killed off. But who is the prime suspect? (leaderswedeserve.wordpress.com)
- Killing the News of the World brand was long over-due (wheresthesausage.typepad.com)