Command and Control Leadership – Loses its Iron Grip

Synopsis of an article from Chief Executive By Alain Hunkins, Published June 19, 2020

Alain uses situational leadership learnings from multi-billion dollar fitness brand CrossFit and the resignation of its CEO (and founder) Greg Glassman after he failed to act in an appropriate way in responding to racism and the black lives matter protests that followed the death of George Floyd.

How bad did it get? Well Glassman had made some tweets and discussed the issue on a Zoom call with affiliate gym owners and the executive leadership team. The content may be considered by many as not racist of massively offensive, however it clearly lacked any empathy and it showed he was way out of touch with his sponsors, partners, customers, and staff.

Shortly before he resigned the companies biggest sponsor (Reebok) cancelled their support and hundreds of affiliate gyms announced they would no longer be working with CrossFit.

Hunkins goes on to offer a lesson that this situation highlights that todays leaders, you must expect and apply radical transparency because you are always being watched.

“In the age of transparency, command and control leadership loses its iron grip. Today, people have options. For example, if employees are unhappy at work, they can take their valuable skills and easily go somewhere else. A few clicks on LinkedIn and Glassdoor reveal greener pastures.”

In a world with so many options, leadership influence can’t be assumed. It must be earned. Credibility is the foundation on which this influence gets built.

Building credibility is a conscious choice and he lays out three key principles that strengthen leadership credibility.
1. Show up on time
2. Do what you say you will do
3. Be consistent

1. Show Up on Time 

Timeliness is a social contract – if you are late then you are sending a clear message, the person you are meeting is less important, it clearly defines the value you place in the other person.

2. Do What You Say You Will Do

The ledger of accountability has two sides, what you promised to do and what you actually did. Keeping these in balance is central to radically transparent leadership. Being aware of your commitments is a critical capability to establish as a leader. Its also very important to be aware of what you haven’t said, in the example of CrossFit, Its what Glassman had not said that he was criticised for.

“Smart leaders understand that transparency brings greater accountability. People are watching you to see if you walk your talk. Then they decide if your walk is on a path that they want to follow.”

3. Be Consistent 

We all know the phrases, ‘Walk the talk’ or Practice what you preach’ in transparent leadership you must repeatedly be consistent, people need to know that you can be relied upon.

Credibility is the foundation of trusted and effective leadership and it is not bestowed on leaders it is earned. It is earned through consistency and while it does take time to earn, it is lost in a moment.

“Be on time. Do what you say you’ll do. Be consistent. These are the small things that become big things. Work at these diligently, and watch your credibility and influence grow exponentially.”

This is a synopsis of the full article by Alain Hunkins which can be found at:

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