Installment 1: CEOWorld Article Series By James M. Kerr - Making Decency Cool

Given all that’s been going on in the world, I felt compelled to place a big, bright spotlight on something that I believe we’ve somehow lost along the way: Decency.

That said, over the next few weeks I will be bringing you a series of articles that focuses on the subject of decency. Specifically, the pieces will address decency in leadership and each will suggest practice sthat can be adopted to make you a better, more decent leader.

If you like, please be sure to share these articles widely. Think of how much better your work life will be when everyone begins to act more decently.

The first installment of my Decency Series focuses on Making Decency Cool Again.

We need to make decency cool again.

If recent business headlines featuring leadership misteps, like:

  • Boeing cooking the books with the FAA to get its 737MAX speedily certified;
  • Purdue Pharma promoting its opioids fully understanding their abuse potential;
  • Apple purposely slowed down older iPhones to force consumers to upgrade;
  • Mylan price gauging and fixing its life-saving allergy shot product EpiPen;
  • Wells Fargo creating as many as 2 million fake bank and credit card accounts in the names of their unwitting customers;
  • United Airlines bloodying and dragging a passenger off an overbooked plane;

are any indication, we need to return decency back to business. 

Do you  this kind of stuff happens because we’ve come to think that it’s just not cool to be decent, anymore. It’s somehow a sign of weakness? I’m inclined to think some leaders are trying their hand at modeling some of the bad behavior that we’ve been seeing in our leaders of late.

That said, I do believe decency is an essential leadership trait…and, one we should make cool again. Here’s how:

Making decency cool

These 5 practices can help you show that being decent still makes you a cool person to follow:

  1. Stop Being Laissez-fare: Take your commitments seriously. It builds trust.
  2. Stop Shifting Blame: Take responsibility fro your actions. It sets the bar and is a basic principle of decency.
  3. Stop Speculating: Decent people don’t assume because they know assumptions can be wrong.
  4. Stop Spinning the Facts: Just tell the truth to the best of your ability.  It demonstrates transparency and is a centerpiece of honest relationships.
  5. Stop Accusatory Actions: Don’t point fingers. Instead, seek to understand motivations and improve behaviors of the people whom you lead.

This is simpler said than done. At lot of this advice goes against human behavior. But, if we can adopt these practices, we will be on the way to making decenct cool again.

Note: This entry is based on my CEOWorld article, published on October 22,2020 in its CEO Insider section.