The consequences to those who follow or admire a leader may be worse than even what the leader experiences. An on-line New York Times article quotes some his former students as saying that Hastert had a major impact on their lives, yet now they are confused and in disbelief about the news. I can only imagine the deep cynicism soccer fans worldwide must be feeling from the FIFA official’s breach of trust.
What is inescapable is that we live in community. While our actions have consequences for us, we must be mindful about what an action could mean to the people we most care about, the organizations to which we are connected, or even our country. Just a couple of days following his indictment, Hastert’s alma mater, Wheaton College, dropped his name from an academic center. Hastert also resigned from the prominent school’s board of advisors. Wheaton obviously did not want to be collateral damage.
When we derail, the communities we are part of suffer exponentially more than we could ever imagine.
Before we take any initiative that seems even possibly questionable, we should ask:
- What would I say if I had to explain my actions to a reporter from 60 Minutes who ambushed me going into my office?
- What if I had to explain my actions to my family or to those who see me as a role model?
- Should I ask a trusted advisor if a contemplated action is sound? I’ve wondered what if Anthony Weiner had asked someone with good judgment, “Hey, I’m thinking about sending a photo of my privates to a college student in Seattle I’ve never met…you think that’s a good idea? Will I feel better about myself? He might still be Congressman Weiner had he sought that counsel.
© Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.