Ignorance is No Excuse for Bad Leadership

When it comes to CEOs, ignorance of the culture in your workplace is unacceptable. Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer recently came to the defense of Uber’s Travis Kalanick saying that she didn’t think Kalanick knew about the toxic culture at his company: “I just don’t think he knew. When your company scales that quickly, it’s hard,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle.

This is like Donald Trump defending Vladimir Putin. To say that Kalanick didn’t know about toxic culture puts him in the same league as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and his infamous comment in the New York Times expose on his workplace’s culture: “That’s not the Amazon I know.” Mayer’s defense of Kalanick as a “great leader” reflects the general attitude of organizational leaders today—their only concern is shareholders and they just don’t care about their workplace culture and, by extension, their employees.

Andrew Faas is the author of From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire

Photo credit: Observer

Overcoming Toxic Workplaces

The indicators featured in this story are dead-on. However, while the first step towards fixing “toxic” workplace cultures is to recognize them, more needs to be said about what business leaders can do to fix them. Previously, I’ve suggested the installation of a “chief bullying officer” at companies, distinct from HR departments, who can serve as a resource for improving corporate culture and acting as an advocate for bullied employees. Additionally, the style of leadership at a business informs the culture for the rest of the company. If the CEO is a bully, then there are sure to be more bullies beneath her; if the CEO is magnanimous, professional and attentive to employees, the managers below her will follow suit. Business leaders need to walk the walk before talking the talk about improving their internal cultures. Read more about toxic workplaces at Forbes.

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Giving More Corporate Chiefs the Steve Jobs Treatment

Executives rank pretty low in respectability ratings largely due to reports of scandal, greed, and fraud that have become almost daily news items. Perhaps if more historians profiled business leaders and CEOs the way Steve Jobs has been profiled, many of them would adjust their leadership styles to consider their legacies. Read the full article at the New York Times.