Thursday, August 15, 2013
What do you do after you have fired someone publicly? You make a public apology. That is what the CEO of AOL did. He acknowledged to employees that he made an emotional decision when he sacked an employee for taking pictures at an all-hands meeting. The former employee apparently has not gotten his job back. Although AOL's CEO calls for openness and communications between ranks, what would you do after the trauma of seeing one of your fellow workers humiliated in public? A letter of apology is not enough, and returning to a spirit of openness will be difficult to achieve. A leader learns sooner or later that some actions are irrevocable. One can't call them back and start over because they have changed the environment. One has injected fear where it wasn't before. The opposite also is true. In highly charged moments, a leader can instill a sense of calm and confidence that electrifies the ranks.` The wisdom of the leader is to know when to take action and how to achieve his goal. The CEO of AOL learned the hard way what not to do.