If any of you have ever been in a leadership role, you will know that being a leader is not easy. In fact, one of the hardest parts of leadership is addressing issues that arise with the people you are leading.
Lt. Gen. David Morrison, who is Australia’s Chief of Army, addressed his troops directly via video about an investigation regarding explicit e-mails about female staffers that were sent by officers and other soldiers. It is an effective video because it has all the good characteristic traits of admonishing people who fail to act with integrity and honor, which can ultimately ruin an organization.
Jena McGregor, a columnist for The Washington Post writes,
“He starts by shaming those involved in the alleged incident or who would consider any similar action by reminding them that they’ve let down the veterans they respect. Their actions, he says, let down not only those currently serving, but ‘all of those whose past service has won the respect of our nation.’ It’s also convincing for how he reminds members that eradicating the Australian Army of such inappropriate behavior is not just the job of leaders, but of everyone: ‘The standard you walk past is the standard you accept,’ he says. And his message is commanding for how direct he is about the consequences for behavior that is demeaning toward women. ‘If that does not suit you, then get out,’ he says, noting he will be ‘ruthless’ in getting rid of bad apples. ‘You may find an employer where your attitude and behavior is acceptable, but I doubt it.’ He closes the video this way: ‘If you’re not up to it, then find something else to do with your life,’ he says. ‘There is not place for you amongst this band of brothers and sisters.’
This style might not suit everyone, but it is a good lesson for all leaders to learn how to address issues when it affects the whole organization.