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Amy Fraher
Scholar/Military leader

Amy Fraher

Amy L. Fraher is a retired Navy Commander and Aviator,Director of the International Team Training Center at San Diego Miramar College. Her book Thinking Through Crises comes out Spring 2011

Pope Benedict, take note

Q: As the de facto leader of Golf Inc., how did Tiger Wood perform at Monday's pre-Master's press conference? What did he need to accomplish to resuscitate his brand? What lessons could other embattled leaders, such as the Pope and GOP chairman Michael Steele, draw from Tiger's handling of the press?

Watching Tiger Woods' April 5 press conference before Augusta National, I was struck by how many leaders today could improve their companies' image by taking a play out of Tiger's book. If they acted like Tiger did, we might feel differently about other recently challenged leaders and their organizations such as the Catholic Church, banks and Wall Street firms, or commercial airlines that awarded executives millions while furloughing employees, slashing wage and benefits, and cutting the most basic of flight amenities for travelers.

What exactly did Tiger do? First of all he seemed genuinely appreciative--appreciative of his fans, fellow players, family, sponsors, supporters in general and, perhaps most important for our example, the opportunity to compete. He talked about "wrong thinking," "bad decisions," being "in denial" and how he now realized "it's not about championships; it's about how you live your life."

Imagine, for example, if Pope Benedict had used the occasion of an Easter address to express appreciation for his community's devotion to his Church, while also publicly acknowledging the decades of pain that poorly supervised pedophile priests have caused thousands of children worldwide.

If he, as the symbolic "father" of the Church, had taken the opportunity to accept responsibility for the Church's denial, wrong thinking and bad decisions of the past, rather than deflecting criticism, imagine the strength of character and ethics he would have demonstrated.

And what if executives--who often seem overly fixated on their own remuneration--expressed appreciation for the taxpayers, employees and customers who bailed out their organizations after poor managerial decisions and thanked all those whose support allowed their companies the opportunity to continue to compete in American markets and abroad?

When arrogance and entitlement is replaced by a genuine appreciation for the opportunity to serve, when denial gives way to acceptance of responsibility, and when reflective "right thinking" supplants business-as-usual, then real leadership is displayed. Instead of covering up or trying to minimize mistakes, leaders need to stand on the principles they want their organizations to represent.

As Tiger said, "Nothing's changed" about competing; "I'm still going to go out and try to win this thing". And we would expect nothing less.

By Amy Fraher

 |  April 6, 2010; 6:24 AM ET
Category:  Wrong-Doing Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Survival of the sorriest | Next: Spiritual truths of leadership

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re: "i must have missed that part about your crdentials to tell the head of more than one billion Catholics how to behave?"

In an opinionated, egalitarian democracy, everyone is an expert on the business of everyone else. To think otherwise is elitist.

Posted by: Matthew_DC | April 7, 2010 1:10 PM
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i must have missed that part about your crdentials to tell the head of more than one billion Catholics how to behave?

you have already sold your opinion for money or you would not publish in wapo, an anti-Catholic, anti-pope rag.

being called anti black is bad in the US, calling Catholics bad in the US is acceptable and the easy way out.

thank you for your service, keep your anti-Catholic opinions to yourself.

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | April 7, 2010 12:03 PM
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"Imagine, for example, if Pope Benedict had used the occasion of an Easter address to express appreciation for his community's devotion to his Church, while also publicly acknowledging the decades of pain that poorly supervised pedophile priests have caused thousands of children worldwide. If he, as the symbolic "father" of the Church, had taken the opportunity to accept responsibility for the Church's denial, wrong thinking and bad decisions of the past, rather than deflecting criticism, imagine the strength of character and ethics he would have demonstrated." The Pope HAS accepted responsibility. Amy Fraher seems not to understand that the continued drumbeat against the Pope and the Catholic Church have NOTHING to do with Catholic abuse of people and EVERYTHING to do with wanting to DESTROY the Catholic Church. If it were about abuse, those attacking the Church would be attacking all the other parts of society (public school employees, non-Catholic clergy, family members, etc.) that commit 100 time (based on a Hofstra University study) the amount of abuse of which Church authority figures are guilty. Hatred of the Catholic Church is the reason the cacaphony remains undiminished.

Posted by: DoTheRightThing | April 7, 2010 11:54 AM
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It will be a very cool day in h... when someone from the Catholic hierarchy says anything that resembles an apology. The New York archbishop is a prime example of the current church leadership, smile, clap a back, shake a hand and proceed to do as you darn well please. Such leadership. Yuk!!

Posted by: jacksprat1 | April 7, 2010 11:21 AM
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