Leadership and Management Lessons from Chris

A Horse's RearLiving in Illinois, I typically don’t throw stones at other states for the misfires of their politicians. After all, serving as Governor in Illinois is one of the most likely positions to insure some quality time behind bars. However, the Chris Christie bridge scandal offers a few too many leadership and management lessons to pass up without a few observations. (I’ve got no candidate or party in this fight…just interested in the lessons we can draw upon here. )

At Least 7 Leadership and Management Lessons from the Bridge Scandal:

1. If you’re in charge, you are responsible. End of story.

2. “I didn’t know” just sounds weak in any circumstances. Even if it’s true.

3. Taking accountability by firing your Chief of Staff and then running the bus over her repeatedly in the national press doesn’t feel like taking accountability.

4. Every team takes cues on standards of behavior from the boss. You set the values, and apparently, it was deemed acceptable behavior to use political power to punish even minor enemies while putting the interests and even lives of your customers in danger.

5. Your reputation as an effective, hardline manager is shot right in the rear as soon as you have to spend hours back-pedaling on how people you trusted lied to you and you didn’t know.

6. As a manager, if you’re too stupid to select people who won’t put your entire career at risk in the name of some misguided show of force, you deserve all the grief you get.

7. What type of an employee is deluded into thinking he/she can operate with impunity, particularly when their boss is an elected official and a potential presidential candidate? See also the points on behaviors, talent selection, management and accountability.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

I’ll end where I started. If you are in charge, you are responsible. End of story.

By | 2016-10-22T17:11:16+00:00 January 10th, 2014|Leadership|3 Comments

About the Author:

Art Petty is a coach, speaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. When he is not speaking, Art serves senior executives, business owners and high potential professionals as a coach and strategy advisor. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.


  1. Doug Gabel January 10, 2014 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Respectfully, stick to writing about Crisis Leadership and leave Chris Leadership alone. You should have stopped after Point 1. Point 1 is about all that is worth reading in your article and from what I saw in yesterday’s ” frank, open and honest” press conference, we saw a leader who is a rare bread…admits and learns from failure, takes action and communicates openly…I only wish others in government were more like Governor Christie.

    • Art Petty January 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      Fascinating thought to ignore the leadership and management lessons on display in our culture. And yes, in your words, he seems like a rare “bread.” I’ll stick by the post. -Art

  2. Ed Cox January 22, 2014 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Yes. Every leader is responsible for all that happens in the organization.
    And, when something happens that shouldn’t, the leader gets to take responsibility for making the changes that will prevent it from happening again.
    Blaming individuals in the organization is risky because it could drive people underground and prevent them from stepping up and taking responsibility for their own mistakes.
    Great post.

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