Guilty of General Failure to Pomote Good Morale

 Hello Everyone
Are you guilty or innocent?

A few years ago the Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy was forced to resign from his position, and he was a Vice Admiral (three stars).

With one bad decision, which was grabbing a sentry by the wrist when he was asked for his ID upon entering the Naval Academy in civilian clothes, his career was ended.  An investigation of the incident proceeded and the following was found.

The charge that forced him to retire was that he was guilty of a General Failure to Promote Good Morale.

  • He was found guilty of intimidating people below him by abusing his position and authority.
  • He was found guilty of screaming at subordinates.
  • He was found guilty of questioning his subordinates with intensity with a raised voice and in an aggressive tone.

In the business world many managers would be found guilty of a general failure to promote good morale even though this is one of their main responsibilities. Are you innocent or guilty?

What are people saying about you behind your back? Are you creating an environment of trust? Are you building self esteem and self confidence in others or tearing it down?

Creating a healthy environment, inspiring your direct reports, and promoting good morale is your responsibility as a leader at work and at home.

Remember culture is not part of the game, it is the game.

As I always say, “Be careful what you say and do because “they” are watching you and judging you. . . Lee

PS: I just returned from Sao Paulo Brazil where I did three presentations on leadership, management and service excellence. Brazil is awesome. The people are terrific. This is a country on the move so keep an eye on them. This is a great place for a vacation. I stayed at three hotels and they were all three well run and as good as any hotels I have ever visited. The Staybridge Suite Hotel is modern and has excellent rooms and is in a great location with restaurants and shopping all around. The Intercontinental Hotel hosted a luncheon for me and did a great job. The service and food was perfect. One day I went out to the city of Campinas which is about 50 miles outside Sao Paulo. My workshops was there at the Royal Palm Plaza Resort. This is a first rate resort with everything you could want. Great rooms, great amenities, great food and best of all great people. World Cup comes to Brazil in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. Brazil is about to take off and now I have lots of new friends there.

  1. Lee,

    As always, another thought provoking blog.

    As a manager or leader, one must always be careful of their actions. We are charged with promoting good morale. However, one must be careful as to not be a “doormat” and have people walk all over you in order to create this environment. I’ve seen managers that have let their staff take advantage of this situation. You had to wonder who was “running the show”, the management or the staff.

    A very important facet of good management or leadership is to praise in public and discipline in private. Too many people have forgotten this and either discipline in public or do not discipline at all for fear of damaging morale, both of which is not good for the organization.

    Looking forward to the next blog…..


  2. Hi Lee,

    As a graduate of USNA, I’m embarrassed that something like that could happen, especially at an institution that promotes integrity and excellence. But… we are all human… and things happen. The best we can do is learn from our mistakes and move on. Hopefully this won’t happen again.

    To your point — it’s so important for a leader to lead by example, set the direction, and create a culture that people are proud to be a part of. It’s so easy to get down and give in to the negativity that’s around us. A leader has to stay positive, persevere through the day-to-day grind, and accomplish the mission. Most importantly, the leader has to believe in the mission and everything else should fall into place.

    Have a great week and I look forward to your forthcoming book.

  3. Scott,

    re: “To your point — it’s so important for a leader to lead by example, set the direction, and create a culture that people are proud to be a part of.”

    Yes, internally and externally. People want to work for firms that make the Best 25 Companies to Work for List. Firms make these lists because they do what you, Lee, and others recommend.

    Cases on point:
    1. There is a chocolate shop not far from Fisherman’s Warf in San Francisco. The shop has a wonderful array of delectable items, employees are very knowledgeable on ingredients — if they get a question from a guest on ingredients that they are not sure of they immediately go into the kitchen to get the correct information prior to the sale. What is amazing here is that locals bring their out-of-town guests here almost as an insider secret. Clearly a business that employees and customers want to be a part of.
    2. There is a bank in Palo Alto, CA that is so customer friendly that guests often refer to themselves as “members” of the bank – even though the bank has no members. People want to be associated with this business because of its customer friendly culture.

    We may all do this by continuing to learn and practice what is discussed in this bog.


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