Leadership and values make a difference to the bottom line

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April, 2019

Recent years in the banking, and financial industry as a whole, have reinforced the sad fact that sometimes people (previously good or bad) do bad things. Fixing abuses, miss-selling, fraud, operational errors.  If there is a will there is a way, as they say, and human beings seem to find a way when really, we don’t want them too as it leads often to maximum financial and reputational damage for the employers.

What can be done to manage this risk? Is it simply bad eggs spoiling the party? Or is it sometimes good people momentarily lost and in need of good leadership, which when lacking leads to a slippery path of worse behavior to try to fix earlier transgressions or errors?

Often many of these issues in the beginning start with a small event, a small decision to be made when faced with an ‘issue’, and how individuals personally manage a seemingly insignificant situation can have a massive effect on their employers, colleagues and themselves.

Managers and coaches can drive and influence those decisions by behaving with strong morals and ethics. With good leadership that is respected and trusted, employees speak up openly and make harder decisions that will ultimately lead to less ‘situations’.

Examples that come to mind are Wells Fargo’s past problem where leadership led to the wrong pressures resulting in fictitious accounts and more. Poor leadership influenced staff in the wrong way obviously but there follow examples of great leadership enabling them to come up in a much stronger condition to move forward. They set about restoring trust internally alongside restructured compensation policies. As one of the new leaders said, “we are not just fixing things but fixing things forward”. By this she means changing the culture to one of transparency and engagement with the ultimate goal of winning back stakeholders trust and belief in what was once a very string traditional and trusted Bank. Closer to home the ongoing Royal commission has been a nightmare for the industry and highlighted multiple examples of poor corporate culture and abuse of employees, colleagues and customers for decades. Don’t get me wrong, this has happened, over time, in every financial center globally, it’s just that Australia is fixing things in a very transparent and public way which although currently damaging and embarrassing to the industry their at home and abroad, I have no doubt will lead to a more robust, sustainably successful and vibrantly enjoyable work place going forward.

Employees are hugely influenced by managers and senior colleagues around them. Having a workplace that has diversity and equality of all types (especially racially and sexually) only leads to benefits to all. Eradicating bullying and bigotry lead to motivated and enthusiastic workers and colleagues, and ultimately it has shown it results in greater staff retention. This all shows ultimately on the bottom line and means no embarrassing court cases in the future. Protecting and the embellishing the highly prized company and individual reputations which takes years to build up and can be destroyed in seconds.

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Awareness

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