Naturally, the world is rife with examples of terrible leadership, Donald Trump sits on the tip of everyone’s tongue as the quintessential example.
Yet, in the travel business, let us not forget the scrutiny and onslaught Oscar Munoz was under, following United’s handling of the assault and forcible removal of a United passenger, who refused to give up his seat.
When things go wrong, all eyes are inevitably on the leader. It doesn’t matter how far removed they are from a particular situation, whether the United assault was a one-off event due to a rogue employee or if it was reflective of deeper, flawed company practices. People demand accountability from the top.
Leadership is everything to do with adapting to what the world throws at you and gauging the most appropriate way to respond. Munoz failed to take responsibility immediately and thus made a bad situation far worse not just for himself but the company altogether with a calamitous fall in share price being just one damaging consequence.
As the dust began to settle around one drama, we also saw United Airlines make headlines once more, for the mysterious death of a giant bunny on board. Perhaps the last example would not have made as much news, had the first event not occurred, but as I said, in trying times, focus rests on the person at the top.
Needless to say, Munoz didn’t make it to the WTTC Global Summit last week in Bangkok where he was ironically due to be interviewed about leadership.
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