‘Fly the Friendly Skies’ the slogan of United Airlines sounds great. However, the recent incident indicates, how the company failed to strategically align and adapt to current social environment; and people are innovatively suggesting new slogans which aligns with their perceived core mission and values. As mentioned in the book, ‘A World Gone Social‘ written by Ted Coine and Mark Babbit, social age is not a fad, its the necessity. Organizations and individuals ignorant of monumental social leap are still entrenched in old-fashioned Industrial-age management style practices, are bound to nosedive their bottom line. The United will continue to be develop headlines though for wrong reasons, till digital natives forget or the company takes some concrete steps to settle the social outcry. Mere apology is too late, to calm the sagebrush fire which had already crossed the continents; and will cost company years and millions to repair.
The airlines current crisis reminds me of Leadership and Followership often mentioned by Dr. Bret Simmons, Professor on Organizational Behavior at University of Nevada Reno. A true leader directs and guides the behavior of people at work and a follower is one who prefers to be guided, directed and don’t hold responsibility. However, in such critical situations, sheep and yes-man back-seated followers are a big-trap towards failures.The leadership is about influencing and empowering followers with enough courage to speak-up when its critical. Leaders nowadays needs to rethink, how their behaviors reflect their choices and how they are scrutinized with varied lens types.
The transactional leadership is an bygone era; today is transformational authentic leader’s era with vision of collective interest. A broader purpose from ME to WE, though the first word is just an upside-down of each other, but it underscores that a single word have ripple effects and jeopardize company reputation and market value upside-down in a moment’s time.
Self-ignorant airlines leader reflected his three contrasting personalities in two days from an egocentric to leader centric to relational. The Millennials, today’s workforce are more open to criticism, trust and expect others to be genuinely authentic too. If a leader overlooked to reinvent themselves as per the social age then social media mob, will be stalking and trolling them, before even their crisis management team can think of a solution.
This incident is the high time to remind leaders, that……In the Social Age leadership is a privilege to serve the people who made them leaders and they expect their leaders to speak and act consistent to the values of their constituents. Leadership is to contain the damage and not to smear it all over and see through clearly in the troubled waters.
Writing on ‘How important is the Leadership during this current United Airlines Social Rant’, is in continuation of my reflection to contribute to Vibrant Healthy Communities. Share your thoughts, does such incidents change your attitude in your future travels with United Airlines!