The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation just released its report by an outside investigator into star radio host Jian Ghomeshi’s execrable behaviour. Beyond confirming that Ghomeshi was a class A a__hole, we’ve also learned that managers knew about it and did mostly… nothing.

This is not an HR problem. It’s a leadership problem, a management problem, an ethical problem! Leaders set the ethical tone of an organization. What they accept will be deemed acceptable; what they reject, will be deemed rejectable. Poor leadership breeds poor management and poor leadership, and it also breeds questionable actions.

I call this the “license principle.” Leaders provide a license for certain types of behaviour and attitudes, even if they don’t act that way themselves. Refusing to deal with a workplace bully like Ghomeshi just because he’s a star provides a license to others to act in the same manner and fails to protect those that are the target of the bully’s ire.

A fundamental leadership principle that I learned in the Army requires that leaders care for the welfare of subordinates and followers. CBC management failed in this mission while tacitly encouraging bullying and favouratism.

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty. 

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

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