Another open secret!!!


Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick was removed from ministry last month for sexually abusing an altar boy. But, as this New York Times article exposes, the church overlooked his harassment of adult seminarians for decades.

As is the case for most sexual abuse and harassment situations, this has been an open secret for decades. The church had not, as this article contends, “overlooked his harassment of adult seminarians”. What they did is cover it up. 

How many more will be exposed before the church comes clean with what they know about others in the church regardless of how high they have to go in culling the predators in their mist? Until they do, they have no moral authority to give spiritual guidance to others.

A Boomer’s Guide for Millenials: The ABC’s of Leadership: S is for Selfless

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This article is part of a series currently being published on MoneyInc. Previous submissions can be viewed on the MoneyInc site by clicking here.

“I have a theory that selflessness and bravery aren’t all that different.”  Veronica Roth

The book ‘The Selfless Leader’by Stephen Brooks begins with the premise that we are all innately selfish. 

Analyzing the moral decay in every segment of our society, whoever coined the phrase “follow the money” nailed it, and it can safely be asserted that the majority of people in authority are greedy and will go to great lengths to protect their power and control. These people are motivated by money, rank and position. Money, rank and position gives them a distorted sense of power.

They expect respect without having to earn it. 

In the work I am doing with emotional intelligence, it never ceases to amaze me how tuned in these people are to their own emotions, what makes them happy, sad, angry, motivated etc.; yet totally clueless on how others feel and why they feel the way they do.  Bottom line for these people, it’s all about them. Does this remind you of someone you know? Odds are you know many of these people. Yes, they are tuned in to their emotions but because of their selfishness the emotions of others don’t even cross their minds.

 Contrast this to the huge number of people who are not motivated by money or power to help others; the health care workers, firefighters, first responders, the military, and police. What motivates them is to serve, protect, defend and heal others.

Also, we should recognize as Sylvia Mathews observed, “Day after day ordinary people become hero’s through extraordinary and selfless actions.”

“I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition. It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that would result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear. I do not want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the ‘Four Horsemen of Calumny’ - Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear”.

These few, simple and powerful words spoken by a member of Congress are a timely example of selflessness, putting her political future at risk, to encourage her fellow Republicans to stand up to the forces that threaten democracy.

Sadly these are not the words of a current member of Congress. They were made on June 1st. 1950, by Margaret Chase Smith who became the first members of Congress to denounce the anti-communist witch hunt of Senator Joseph McCarthy in ‘A Declaration of Conscience’ speech.

What we are witnessing today is the selfishness of politicians who have and are selling their souls to protect their power and control, or simply to get re-elected. What they are proving is that they are politicians but not leaders. Leaders are people who dare stand up to those whose intent is to destroy and destruct. 

Based on extensive research I have done on organizational dynamics, the ‘Four Horsemen of Calumny’ - Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear is not unique to politicians, it is evident in most organizations and institutions. Evidence of this is the exposure of wrongdoings in every segment of our society where the common thread is these behaviours and actions were open secrets for years and in some cases decades. My first book, ‘From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Our of the Line of Fire’, describes why people are fearful of challenging authority, which is a tactic used by bullies, turning their targets and victims into villains. 

Understandably, targets and victims are reluctant to come forward. What is not acceptable, however, is for bystanders, particularly those in leadership positions, to remain silent. For those in leadership positions who do not become witnesses, defenders, protectors and resistors when others are harmed, because it puts at risk their own personal position, are selfish and should not be regarded as leaders. 

Stephen Ambrose in his book ‘Band of Brothers’profiled Major Dick Williams, who led his band of brothers from the D Day landings to the German surrender, bravely and selflessly. Williams did not consider himself a hero and did not want any credit for what he had done, crediting instead his men, especially those who lost their lives for their country. Williams, in his book, ‘Beyond the Band of Brothers’ asserts his ‘10 Principles of Leadership’, in which his selflessness shines through. They are:

“1. Strive to be a leader of character, competence and courage.

2. Lead from the front. Say ‘Follow me!’ Then lead the way.

3. Stay in top physical shape - physical stamina is the root of mental toughness.

4. Develop your team. If you know your people, are fair in setting realistic goals and expectations, and lead by example, you will develop team work.

5. Delegate responsibility to your subordinates and let them do their jobs. You can’t do a good job if you don’t have a chance to use your imagination and creativity.

6. Anticipate problems and prepare to overcome obstacles. Don’t wait until you get to the top of the ridge and then make up your mind.

7. Remain humble. Don’t worry about who gets the credit. Never let power or authority go to your head.

8. Take a moment of self-reflection. Look at yourself in the mirror every day and ask if you did your best.

9. True satisfaction comes from getting the job done. The key to a successful leader is to earn respect - not because of rank or position, because you are a leader of character.

10. Hang tough! Never, ever give up.” 

John Michel, a Harvard Business Review blogger, captured the essence of a selfless leader when he wrote - “the most effective form of leadership is supportive. It is collaborative. It is never assigning a task, role or foundation to another that we ourselves would not be willing to perform. For all practical purposes, leading well is as simple as remembering to remain others-centered instead of self-centered.”

(Andrew Faas is the author of From Bully to Bull’s Eye - Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire and a Public Voices Fellow at Yale University)

80% of North American employees do not trust HR – this is why!


Early in my career, I headed up HR and have had the HR portfolio as my responsibility for decades. This latest Uber resignation by the head of Uber’s HR department, amid racial slurs and discrimination is an example of how totally ineffective HR is and has been the predominant problem rather than the solution. This situation is particularly interesting because Ms. Hornsey was brought in specifically to change the toxic culture of Uber’s workplace. Not only was she totally ineffective, but she herself was toxic. This begs the question of why she was hired in the first place. Unfortunately, she is not alone in her behaviour. In the research I have done on bullying in the workplace, 80% of employees in North America do not trust HR, and with good reason!

Although she vowed to remake the toxic culture I wrote about in this blog last year, she actually exacerbated the problem. Companies across the board should review the role that HR plays in their organizations, because right now they are a liability rather than being an asset. Her discriminatory conduct is inappropriate and repulsive. Furthermore, this situation seriously damages the credibility of the many other HR professionals who are so desperately trying to make a difference in their organizations. 

So, how did she get hired? The board of directors, who waited far too long to get rid of the CEO, should bear the responsibility here because they hired Ms. Hornsey to fix the existing toxic culture. Whoever did the due diligence on her failed miserably.

Typical of most HR people is that try to bamboozle everyone with words rather than taking appropriate action steps. Or in this case, taking a page from the bullies/bigots who are already there. In my book‘From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire’, I discuss this dynamic at length, offering suggestions on what employees can do when faced with such issues. I also offer advice for employers who appear for the most part to be clueless about what changing a toxic culture entails.

Turning the victims into the villains

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This New York Times article explains that Ohio congressional representative Jim Jordan insists he didn’t know that wrestlers on a college team he coached were being abused; and backers say he is the victim of conspirators who are trying to bring down the U.S. president.

The university’s investigation ,being conducted by the firm Perkins Coie LLP, should be relied upon to determine the truth here, not the court of public opinion. This is a classic case of attempting to turn the accusers into villains. It also appears to be a case where the allegations were open secrets. If Jordan was not aware, given his close proximity to the situation, he was inept. If he was as close to the players as both he and the players acknowledge, it begs a fundamental question on why the players did not go to him for intervention and support. Could it be, as is the case in most of these situations, they were afraid? Given Jordan’s abrasive and overly aggressive style, my bet is that the fear factor was at play. 

In this case, the culture of fear that is likely the fundamental cause for Jordan’s allegations began in the 1980’s but has been and continues to be the modus operandi of many organizations in North America to this day. In my book‘From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire’, I share my views on the dictatorial culture that creates this fear, how it affects the victims negatively, and what to do about it whether the victim or a witness. This is another example of how bystanders can and must come forward to expose injustice and bring about positive change.

Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex


In the work I do promoting emotional intelligence, convincing executives that emotions matter is a tough sell. In part, many don’t get it because they have been conditioned to seek more complex solutions to address the challenges and opportunities they face. 

This New York Times opinion by David Brooks explains Mr. Rogers’ ‘magical’ way of discussing serious issues focusing on the simplicity that can reveal very deep emotional insights.

Consider the extremes, as detailed in this Wall Street Journal article, that Starbucks is going through in addressing the access to bathroom issue. I recommend that all of their executives and managers watch the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. This would prove to be more impactful than the complex approach they have embarked on. 

Why emotions matter


This perspective in the Washington Post by Bob McKillip, head coach Davidson College basketball team, brings home the claim those of us who advocate for emotional intelligence make, which is ‘emotions matter’.

Davidson College’s mission - “Our world needs leaders who aim to lead and serve guided by human instincts and creative and disciplined minds. We need advocates for and defenders of human dignity”

Having the men’s basketball team visit Auschwitz is testing the emotions of the players who they are grooming to become leaders. 

McKillip describes what motivated the visit - “The volatility of our world right now requires a response informed by both a respect for human kind and an understanding of what happens in its absence.”

Another dynamic these young players experienced was the emotions they individually felt about the visit, and the subsequent realization of the need to depend on each other emotionally – Yes, emotions matter. 

Institutional corruption


Flint Michigan’s poisoned water crisis revealed “the poisoned city”. This New York Times book review focuses on two complimentary books, each of which describes and discusses a situation that has resulted in deadly consequences, giving a perspective on the dynamics of institutional corruption and the importance of bystanders to expose it. 

Anna Clark’s “The Poisoned City”, reveals irrefutable proof that the water supply was poisonous no one did anything about it despite well-publicized evidence that should stir even the coldest of elected politicians to act swiftly. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s “What the Eyes Don’t See” views the water crisis in Flint, Mich., from a different angle, showing that the blatantly corrupt and bigoted system has once again literally gotten away with murder. 

Interestingly enough, the Times published a wonderful opinion piece written by Thomas L. Friedman who shows how a well-organized community can pull itself up by its own bootstraps without the help of elected officials. This turn- around from a once dying community can be credited to citizens who, in a responsible and civil way, took matters into their own hands and are now thriving. This can and should be duplicated elsewhere. Why not Flint, Michigan?

A Boomer’s Guide for Millennials: The ABC’s of Leadership: R is for Relatable.


This article is part of a series currently being published on MoneyInc. Previous submissions can be viewed on the MoneyInc site by clicking here.

Based on the research I have done, people who have high emotional intelligence are better able to relate to others, and have others relate to them and as a result have better relationships with others.

The biggest failure of leadership in all sectors is their inability to relate to others, specifically their inability to put themselves in the shoes of those they are responsible for, understanding how they feel and why they feel the way they do.

“For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act against all white people, I can only say I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.”

Fifty years ago in Indianapolis, just following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy, with these few words, was able to have people relate to the teaching of King by relating to them their shared feelings; and in so doing, avoided in Indianapolis the violent riots that erupted across the Nation. 

As importantly, Kennedy articulated a standard for leaders to “make an understand and go beyond...”

The term, “it’s lonely at the top” is certainly true for those who are unable to relate to others. The meaning of the word relate has, over time, shifted from recounting something to identifying, connecting and empathizing with others. I assert, based on my own experience, that leaders who relate are not lonely because if you relate to others, they will relate to you, which becomes the foundation for relationships.

I have found with many, as people progress up the political, corporate and social ladders, that they forget “from whence they came”. Usually this results in the inability to relate to others. This inability to relate severely limits the ability to have people follow them.

This is playing out in many countries where politicians have totally misread the mood of the people. My view is that they misread the mood because, particularly in the United States, most of them have become nothing but politicians who are so removed from reality that they are not able to relate to the populous. Few have the ability to identify, connect with and have empathy for those they represent. To his credit, the current President recognizes and should receive full marks for understanding and connecting with his core base of followers. Where he earns zero marks is for his total lack of empathy for those who have real, and legitimate grievances. He, as other autocrats have done and continue to do, is to take advantage of the downtrodden, who are so desperately looking for a savior, and prey on and take advantage of their grievances and fears.

Democracies can be savedif those who are chosen to represent others start relating by understanding how people feel, and more importantly, to understand why people feel the way they do. While garnering this information, leaders must connect and have empathy for what other people are going through. From this, they can build a platform which responds to the real issues versus merely offering false hope and platitudes.

In a CNBC interview, Howard Shultz captured being relatable when he stated, “It’s been a long time since anyone in government really walked in the shoes of the American public.”

However, it’s not only politicians who are misreading the mood of the people; this misperception is evident in all segments of our society. An indicator of this is a recent Gallop poll showing professions in which fewer than 50% of people are trusted: judges (43%), clergy (42%), bankers (25%), newspaper reporters (25%), local office holders (24%) TV reporters (23%), lawyers (18%), business executives (16%), lobbyists (8%). I assert one of the reasons for these damning perceptions is that these professionals are not relating to their constituents. Furthermore, the constituents are not relating to the professionals. It is no small wonder why there is the level of discontent that there is. The Gallop numbers, taken at their face value, suggest that 57% of the population does not respect or have confidence in the establishment.

It is interesting from the same study to compare the least trusted to the most trusted professions, where more than 50% are trusted:  nurses (82%), military officers (71%), grade school teachers (66%), medical doctors (65%), pharmacists (62%), police officers (56%). One thing that immediately jumps out is that the most respected are generally not perceived to be part of the establishment. Another and more significant observation is that the most trusted professions by and large deal with individuals, whereas the least trusted by and large deal with the system. This means that the most trusted professionals earn their trust through individual relationships.

So, how does one become relatable? 

First and foremost, regardless of how different you are, view others as fellow human beings. This is what we all have in common, we are all human beings. Inherent in this are other things we have in common - being a son or daughter, a spouse, or a parent, as well as similar experiences - good and bad, reflecting on RFK’s words, “I had a member of my family killed...” 

The next step is relating how you feel about situations you face. Again, as an example, RFK’s words, “I can only say I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling.” Be transparent by saying, “I can relate to that”, adding why or explaining how you relate. I remember so well my mother reaching out and comforting other mothers who, like her, had lost an infant, relating her loss and saying, “I know what you are going through”. 

In my work in organizational dynamics, I have found there are a lot of myths around inter-generational relationships, particularly the inability to relate to each other. What most boomers have forgotten is that they too were once young, with similar ideals, aspirations, frustrations and fears. In research we have done with the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, we have found that there is little difference on how people, regardless of age, feel and why people feel the way they do about the work they do, the relationships they have at work, and the organizations they work for.

Just being able to relate does not make one relatable however. What makes one relatable is dialogue - something that has become almost nonexistent for most, particularly in the work environment between the boss and the subordinate, where the only interactions are by dictate, during the annual performance review, or when things go south. 

I encourage leadership everywhere to start the dialogue, and as RFK implored, “make an effort...  to understand and go beyond.”

(Andrew Faas is the author of From Bully to Bull’s Eye - Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fireand a Public Voices Fellow at Yale University)



According to this New York Times article, the United Nations’ secretary general has vowed greater accountability for sexual misconduct. But many employees say that won’t end decades of sexism and abuse within the organization.

The way the U.N. handles sex assault cases is pretty much the way most organizations handle them and other harassment and abuse claims. Peter Gallo an investigator at the Office of Internal Oversight Services at the U.N. perfectly defines what is at the core of this when he described, “The whole thing is designed to protect the organization” adding “The U.N. is more interested in its reputation than in protecting victims.” 

Does tribalism in America have to end badly?


Complaints about our deepening cultural and political divides tend to assume all disagreements can be bridged. History suggests otherwise. In this New York Times article, different outcomes can emerge when different ‘tribes’ find themselves in disagreement.

Although history suggests that disagreements cannot be bridged though dialogue, that should not assume that it is impossible to resolve our deepening cultural and political divides. We have lost the art of civil discourse because in the places we live, learn, work and play, it is unacceptable to apply what I refer to as the 5D’s of civil discourse (Discuss - Disagree - Debate - Defend - Defy). Even where it may be acceptable people generally are not comfortable in having critical discussions. 

In the work the Faas Foundation is doing with the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, in an initiative called ‘Emotion Revolution in the Workplace’, we are discovering that by developing the emotional intelligent skills of employees, better relationships can be fostered through the application of the 5 D’s of civil discourse.