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Leadership Column: The Strength of a Leader (May/June 2014)

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Ethics Matters

May/June 2014

An ethical leader doesn’t have to be the best, fastest or even smartest in his organization. But he must be strong.

Unexpected adversity is all but guaranteed on the path of a leader. Occasionally, such adversity means taking an unpopular or controversial stand. In those moments, strength is key.

We saw the impact of a leader’s strength recently through the National Basketball Association (NBA) Commissioner, Adam Silver. Only two months into his new role, Silver faced adversity that caused him to show leadership strength. After a team owner made inflammatory comments offending many people, Silver’s strength was put to the test.

While Silver faced a PR nightmare, a potential player walkout, and major public outcry, it was also an opportunity for him to show his strength as a leader.

Silver exercised restraint by doing his due diligence to secure the facts before making a decision. He communicated this process to all the stakeholders in the situation and acted fast to address the issue. When the time came for his decision about the situation, he took responsibility as a leader, apologized for the damaging consequences, and made a clear and firm announcement of his resolution to ban the owner from the NBA for his inappropriate comments. After the announcement, he took time answer questions thoroughly with the press.

Silver could have buckled to the strong pressure from interested parties on both sides of the issue and made a rash call. However, he held to his convictions to conduct a proper investigation and address the issue head on.

The response toward Adam Silver’s actions was overwhelmingly positive, earning him the respect of NBA fans, the support from the remaining team owners, and the appreciation of the players, coaches and other employees of the NBA. Where others may have bowed to the pressure and fear of making a bad call, Silver stepped up and demonstrated the strength of a true leader.

 – As Always, Lead With Integrity!

Alfonzo Alexander
President, CPT

> Read Full May/June 2014 Ethics Matters