Steve Smith cheat & Mark Zuckerberg Ignorance created much mews in the recent times as both people believed to be legend in their respective fields.
The Australian cricket team and Captain Steve Smith are in the news for the wrong reasons. After their much ridiculed ‘brain fade’ incident against India, this time it is for ball tampering on the third day of the Cape Town Test against South Africa. The Australian captain admitted that he played the gentleman’s game in the wrong spirit. But this was not the first time that the ethics of the Australian cricket camp were in question.
Among many such issues, the most recent one is from last year, when Australia toured India. Smith was seen looking to the dressing room for instructions on whether or not to go for a review against the original decision when he was declared out leg-before-wicket on an Umesh Yadav delivery.
On the other hand, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook’s public image has been seriously damaged. But the company’s real problem is that CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg still don’t know how to fix the company’s underlying problems. The company depends on collecting data from its over 2 billion users around the world and using that data to help commercial or political entities target users with advertisements. With its brand value tumbling, this business model might be in jeopardy.
Becoming a leader means putting the public’s interest ahead of your own.
Steve Smith and Mark Zuckerberg are role models to others whether they choose to be or not. They exert far greater influence on others by virtue of their authoritative role, power and visibility. They therefore take on a teaching role of what behavior is acceptable and what is not.
Leadership in the public service is especially relevant in terms of its reach, because, unlike leaders in the other sector, they not only exert influence on employees under their supervision, but also on the wider public. Whether their behavior is good or bad, it has the potential to influence huge numbers of people.
But humans make mistakes.
We have seen many leaders who were exposed, initially denied it, like how Steve Smith and Mark Zuckerberg did, only to admit and apologize later. Hiding behind flimsy excuses, blaming others for their mistakes and accusing people of taking advantage of them, do more harm than good. It does not inspire trust, it does not confirm the individual’s moral compass and it does not enhance the individual’s reputation. Rather, followers might question their integrity and trustworthiness even further – wondering how many other lies have been told.
Lying, blaming others and sweeping the wrongdoing under the carpet will not do the trick. Taking responsibility, being accountable, open and honest about their ethical failures probably poses the biggest challenge on the road to restoring trust. It also requires moral courage. And that’s what makes them ethical.
They must display integrity. Integrity means following one’s moral or ethical convictions and doing the right thing in all circumstances, even if no one is watching. They need to take responsibility for their behavior, good and bad, acknowledge the wrongdoings in their lives can indeed have an effect on their public position on their trustworthiness and reputation.
To gain the trust of others after an ethical failure leaders like Steve Smith and Mark Zuckerberg have to demonstrate that they are sincere, honest and respectful of the fact that they are viewed as ethical role models and followers mimic their behavior.
To regain trust, they should visibly demonstrate that they are competent to deliver on their ethics.
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