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November 11, 2015
Lesson from Missouri: Leaders Need to Listen and Act
 
What went wrong at the University of Missouri that finally prompted the resignation of its president, Tim Wolfe? It wasn’t anything at the university so much as the “leadership” style of Wolfe himself, says Ron Fournier in a NationalJournal piece, “Missouri as a Microcosm”. Boy, are there PR lessons here.

“In an era of hyper-change and connectivity,” Fournier writes, “the American public has never trusted their leaders less, and we’ve never had more power to undermine them. These two trends tug at the national fabric in ways that eventually will make us stronger – or cause us to come apart.”

It’s up to what leaders do, or don’t do. They’re required to provide timely relational leadership – and too many of them don’t understand that. PR advisers need to do some boning up on leadership challenges, and how to survive them – then get their own leaders to listen to them and to act wisely.

It’s not what a leader wants, it’s what he or she comes to understand is needed, sooner than later, by listening and reacting well.

Want more on the topic of relating well? Listen to Rita Pierson on TED. Please do.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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