Recent events in the news indicate a need for a new era of responsibility. Lance Armstrong is the latest hero to have fallen in the public arena. In his television interview with Oprah the world discovered that he won his Tour de France title and Olympics bronze medal in cycling while using various performance-enhancing drugs and hormones. On top of this, Armstrong adamantly denied for years any allegation of cheating or doping. The public’s focus and analysis of Armstrong’s admission have eclipsed other news stories because the fall of a hero is devastating to a tremendous number of people. What is at issue is a lack of respect that displaced responsible actions.
- A lack of respect for position leads to a breech of trust. Competitor, champion, public role model, CEO all entail the stewardship of trust. The trust was broken as a result of irresponsible behavior because he lacked respect for his position.
- A lack of respect for experience lends to cheapening one’s influence on others. Armstrong’s survival of cancer and subsequent efforts to help others through Livestrong influenced thousands to believe they could make a difference. That influence was diminished by irresponsible behavior because he did not respect how he influenced others.
- A lack of respect for voice cheapened the words that so many bought into wholeheartedly. Consider this quote: “This is my body, and I can do whatever I want to it. I can Push it; Study it; Tweak it; Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I am on my bike busting my a– six hours a day. What are YOU on?”
A new era of responsibility will require respect from leaders toward those who follow them. What do you see as the main obstacle to respect in the workplace? At home? In civic life and government?