The England Captaincy Saga: Is it a Matter of Ethical Leadership?

The England Captaincy Saga: Is it a Matter of Ethical Leadership?
9 February 2012 John Moore

Fabio Capello has gone, but did he go for the right reasons?  The newspapers are full of speculation and reports of what may or may not have happened.

There is a strong suggestion that principles were violated, values were trampled on and lines were crossed, but whose and by whom?

When managing such issues sensitivity needs to be the watch word. So who was insensitive, who is the victim and who is at fault? When facing such strong allegations many businesses would suspend the employee – as much for their protection and out of consideration of the victim; it also helps to protect the reputation and integrity of the employer and enables the appropriate investigations to take place. Guilt or innocence should not come into it at this stage because for many businesses it would be a matter of policy and procedure.

Now to the matter of ethical leadership. As an ambassador and role model, should John Terry have volunteered to step down as captain? Appointed as much for his football abilities as for his leadership qualities, did he exercise poor judgement in staying? Would stepping aside have been perceived as a sign of guilt or a sign of strength?

Forgetting the FA’s role in the fair play scheme, did it act according to its corporate social responsibility and ethical policies? Did it act inappropriately by failing to make it a line management issue or did it in fact take the appropriate action? Like many of the decisions that were made, it is unlikely that we will ever know the full story. Did the FA take action after the ‘horse had bolted’ and treat Fabio Capello unfairly? Fabio Capello claims that the FA “crossed a line” undermining him and reducing his authority.

Upset by the FA’s disrespect for the Anglo Saxon’s sense of ‘innocent before proven guilty’, Fabio Capello’s values were violated making it impossible for him to continue. Now are we are skating closer to a case of constructive dismissal?

With banker and ‘fat cat’ bonuses and the recent debacle over MP’s expenses in the news almost daily, it really begs the question, what has happened to good old fashioned right and wrong and values such as honesty and integrity – values you read on most company websites. Is this now the time for leaders, be they football coaches, heads of corporations, Government ministers or the supervisor at work to set an example and show clear, ethical leadership?

By the way, with all of this fuss, there is one thing of which we all seem to have lost sight – the original allegation and the alleged victim. What a weight of responsibility that has just fallen on Anton Ferdinand’s shoulders!

John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.

1 Comment

  1. Author
    John Moore 7 years ago

    Why was there all of the urgency when six weeks later the FA has not communicated their plans to the fans? I recall in my first management job, the first time I was given a letter of resignation by one of my team members. I remember being in a panic thinking it was the end of the world and how were we going to cope. Now I realise when someone leaves it is an opportunity to appoint a stronger, better replacement especially in these rapidly changing times when the skills that were right two years ago are maybe not what we need now!

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