What can leaders learn from the Penn State Tragedy

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Patern...
Image via Wikipedia

What happened in Happy Valley is an absolutely stunning tragedy.

But what lessons can leaders learn…

You only are a leader if you have the trust and respect of those you lead. 

At its core, leadership is a contract that says:  You agree to lead and I agree to follow you.  Key to this is the assumption that you will lead in a way that justifies the my trust and respect.  Leaders who lose that trust and respect of those they lead will not be leaders for very long.


You have a moral duty to do more.

There are a few times in the life where you are compelled to action by the moral imperative of the context.  Those are not the times to “stick to the letter of the law”.  Rather, those are times for leaders to rise to higher moral standards of right and wrong.  Leaders who don’t take action in these morally urgent contexts risk becoming the focus of the outrage of the community.

You are responsible.

When you are the boss you own it all.  Whether it is good, especially if it is bad you are responsible for what happens.  You will be judged by how well you handle that responsibility.


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