DVIDS – News – Illinois National Guard Symposium Helps Shield Against the Trappings of Power
The Illinois National Guard held its Leader Symposium at the 183rd Wing in Springfield, Illinois, on Jan. 27. The day-long symposium for the Illinois National Guard’s senior officers and NCOs featured three experts on being ethical leaders: The Inspector General of the National Guard Bureau Laurel Hummel, University of North Carolina Professor Alison Fragale, and FranklinCovey Senior Consultant Kim Jabbar.
Hummel discussed ‘Why Leaders Fail.’ She said that most military senior leader misconduct is limited to sex, money, abuse of their power or position, and violations of government ethics regulations with alcohol often being a single triggering or compounding factor.
She discussed how senior leaders will often rationalize ethical failings and ethical problems often start small and then build. Hummel identified multiple senior leader “risk factors” such as stress and high operations tempo, social isolation, hubris caused by “rock star status,” and a fear of failure. “Preventive measures” included understanding the psychology and science behind ethics, self-awareness, good reporting and inspections, an appreciation of “what you have to lose,” establishing good ethical habits and considering your personal moral compass, which could be another leader or spiritual figure.
Hummel warned that “good honorable people, senior leaders of character, can and do fail.” When they do fail, often their actions make no sense to even themselves “once the fog lifts.” These leaders almost always implicate subordinates in their misconduct and ask those subordinates to sacrifice their own integrity to cover up their own misconduct.
“Each of us can improve our character and ethical fitness through honest reflection, self-education and self-training,” she said.
Fragale discussed the ‘Psychology of Power.’ Ethical lapses, she said, is often not because of inherent character flaws, but rather because “all good eggs can go bad under the right circumstances.”
Hierarchy is not only necessary in an organization, it improves performance, she said. Feeling powerful improves cognitive abstraction, executive functioning, self-presentation, creativity, speaking up against incivility and your golf game, she added.
However, feeling powerful can also lead to people acting impulsively and to rationalize that behavior, Fragale said.
She cited studies that showed that leaders who do not receive candid feedback, or who are “chronically low power” and are then given power, or who are threatened or insecure are often at risk for abusing their position.
We can reap the benefits of hierarchy and minimize unethical and undesirable behavior by being aware that we are hardwired to be more disinhibited, impulsive and egocentric as we gain power, Fragale said. People can also suppress their natural tendencies through culture, norms and procedures that shape the desired behavior if the circumstances are right, she said.
Jabbar discussed trust as vital to successful organizations and people and how leaders can increase trust in their organizations and personal lives. She said that high-trust people engage in 13 behaviors: talk straight, demonstrate respect, create transparency, right wrongs, show loyalty, deliver results, get better, confront reality, clarify expectations, practice accountability, listen first, keep commitments, and extend trust.
Ethics and character are foundational to trust, she said.
Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the Adjutant General of Illinois and the Commander of the Illinois National Guard, left participants with six points to consider:
1. How do leaders balance mission execution and treatment of personnel?
2. How aware are you of the impact of what you say, and how you say it?
3. When is personal criticism appropriate, and how can we communicate necessary criticism without ‘making it personal?’
4. How has power influenced leaders to participate in overlook bad behavior?
5. What are my personal vulnerabilities to the influences of power and how do I safeguard against those influences?
6. Who among your subordinates and peers will give you candid feedback?
|Date Posted:||01.27.2023 23:21|
|Location:||SPRINGFIELD, IL, US|
This work, Illinois National Guard Symposium Helps Shield Against the Trappings of Power, by LTC Bradford Leighton, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.
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