How deep are your connections?

When the current Nairobi County Governor (before he became one) took out his phone in a public demonstration and called the President of the Republic of Kenya on loud speaker, claiming the president was his good friend, in order to appease some crowd, it left a very bad taste in my mouth.

I have nothing against the Governor really, but I love to analyse issues from a management perspective. You may call it a political move if you like, but I looked at it from a different angle. I felt so embarrassed for the president at that moment. Only God knows where he was or what he was doing when he received that call.

You see, when we are ambushed like that, especially when quick and tough decisions need to be made, we panic. That’s because whatever you say can and may be used against you. You have not thought about it carefully and any public pronouncement especially when you are in a position of authority will be hang around your neck for ever.

As a Manager, it is of absolute importance that you never put your boss on the spotlight like that. It is your job to protect her and her reputation by all means necessary. You always represent your boss/employer within and outside the organization as a Manager. You may have serious concerns or private disagreements with her about operations and so on but when you stand up in public to represent her, you cannot embarrass her by badmouthing her to other people. It speaks very negatively about the kind of person you are.

Sometimes you need to be the bad guy in public so as to protect your boss/employer. You must be able to ‘take the bullet’, not because you are a kiss ass, but because it is part of your job. If you have serious issues regarding how she is doing things and no longer want to be associated with her, quit her and move on but don’t embarrass her in public.

So next time you are in a tight spot and you need to use your boss to help you do some PR for crisis management, call her privately, on the side, explain the situation and then go out and communicate the message. It doesn’t matter if you are best friends or spouses, use that opportunity to be your own person by handling the situation professionally, rather than showing the whole world and your boss how incompetent you are.

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