Hypocrisy Has No Place In Leadership
One of the worst habits leadership can get themselves into is the need to point out everyone else's faults while making excuses and exceptions for their own. When leadership puts more emphasis on otherís faults and failures, all the while ignoring their own, leadership loses. To look at othersí mistakes, faults, or errors before leadership addresses their own, leadership will lose credibility from their team and other supporting leaders. I heard a saying once that said, ďDonít come clean my house until you have your own put in order.Ē This simple statement is a good reminder for anyone, but especially for those in leadership.
Please donít misunderstand me. This doesnít mean leadership is expected to be perfect. Rather, leadership should be sure to hold themselves to the same standards they hold others. If your house is dysfunctional, out of order, or doesnít show respect, then donít complain about others who may show the same signs as your own team. If you allow your own team to do nonsense activity and actions, then you have no right complaining when other leadership does the same thing. The hypocrisy you show is a mirror of your own character.
I once sat under leadership who would allow for disrespectful and inappropriate conversations to occur within meetings. That leadership did nothing to correct the behavior, nor did they stand up for what was right. Instead, some of the lower leadership chose to join in the inappropriate conversations and behavior, while others chose to remain silent and say nothing about the crewís actions. This same leadership then went and complained about another agency's team member who spoke inappropriately about their own leadership during a mutual aid effort. To be honest, it really doesnít matter what was said, what matters most is that this leadership chose to hold someone who is not a part of their team to higher standards than they hold themselves.
Leadership who chooses to allow hypocrisy to be the backbone of their organization leads nothing more than a house of cards. It wonít be long that their hypocrisy will be their downfall, but more importantly, it will be the lasting impression people will remember most. Being a hypocritical leader does not establish an environment of trust, respect, or integrity. However, I would assume that leadership that allows for hypocrisy isnít really leading with any of those qualities anyway.
Kristopher Wallaert, EdD