So What about Your Reputation?

As leaders one of our most important assets is our reputation. So why are we seeing so many respected leaders going down in flames because of personal transgressions? From Arnold “Governator” Schwartzenneger to Dominique Strauss-Kahn to Bernie Madoff I’m amazed at the level of bad behavior that’s exhibited by people in positions of power.

What does it mean when a powerful person acts badly? For one, their reputation is unalterably damaged. And what does it mean when it’s not about work, it’s about their own personal “peccadillos” so to speak?

In one organization I consulted to in the late 1990s, the CFO had an affair with one of his married work colleagues. Not only did it damage his personal reputation, it damaged his reputation as trustworthy at the office. During a teambuilding exercise I was facilitating, at least four separate people took me aside to mention what was going on in his personal life – and boy was it distracting everyone from the actual issues of the day.

What bad behaviors have you witnessed at work? How has it impacted your workplace? Please discuss!


About karlinsloan

Karlin Sloan has committed herself to finding out what makes great leaders tick, and to supporting leaders to be the change they wish to see in the world. As a corporate citizen she is an advocate for triple-bottom-line reporting, for creating sustainable ways of working and living, and for creating positive organizational communities that work together for the greater good. She is the author of the acclaimed business book Smarter, Faster, Better; Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled Leadership which has been translated into Thai and Russian, UNFEAR: Facing Change in an Era of Uncertainty, and co-author of the 2012 book Lemonade: The Leaders Guide to Resilience at Work. For more information see or
This entry was posted in Executive Coaching, fear at work, leading people, leading teams, trust, uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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