Leadership Lessons from McChrystal’s Firing

Larry Tucker

Author: Larry Tucker

Executive Coaches of Orange County


Regardless of your political persuasion, if you are a manager,  you probably had some anguish as you read General McChrystal’s comments from the Rolling Stone magazine article where he criticizes the Obama administration leaders. Taking a look at this situation through a nonprofit organization lens, what if you are the executive director of this organization and your primary manager makes  her opinion known to all around her that the organization’s leaders are not competent?

These events aren’t exactly parallel, but it reminded me of  situations I’ve seen in the past, both in the corporate world and in nonprofits. This negative perspective has a devastating and dampening effect on the whole organization. Any sense of collaboration to accomplish a common goal is shredded. This perspective WILL affect this manager’s future actions, even if these contrarian opinions haven’t yet influenced her decision-making. In addition, assuming you have heard none of these comments  firsthand, this manager is setting a poor precedent on how disagreements and differing opinions are handled in your organization.     

Maybe firing isn’t your first choice, but these negative declarations about management have to stop. What should you do? First, look in a mirror. Is your behavior such that you discourage the discussion of conflicting opinions? Second, have the discussion. Start by asking questions, but finish by making it clear your team works through their issues together and lives by the decisions made.

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