Friday, 5 March 2010

It’s lonely at the top

The recent recall of millions of their vehicles worldwide because of safety concerns has understandably led to not only a battering of Toyota’s reputation but also a drop in morale in the company’s workforce.

Recently, Toyota president Akio Toyoda exchanged his business suit for a worker's uniform to speak to the company's Japanese employees and hopefully get them (unlike their cars) firing on all cylinders.

In an unusual admission of vulnerability he admitted to the employees, dealers and suppliers who were present at the company headquarters for the address that the constant barrage of criticism had left him feeling lonely:
"I was feeling lonely as Toyota was being criticised repeatedly on TV and in the newspapers, and I was being chased by the media."
Not to worry though, he also revealed that he felt protected by those employees that he had met when in the USA when appearing before a US congressional hearing to answer questions on safety concerns.
"I had been thinking I was striving to protect those people, but I realised I was actually being protected by them. I was deeply moved and thought I was really lucky to be a member of Toyota."
  • Is it a sign of strength or weakness for business leaders to admit to such feelings?

1 comment:

  1. Lets not forget the other key factor in this – not just a business leader admitting such feelings but a man (who, lets face it, are not renowned for sharing their inner most feelings).

    Is it a sign of weakness to tell the truth about how you feel? No
    Will some people view it as a PR gesture? Probably
    Is it sometimes better to keep your inner most feelings inner most? Maybe
    Will this help Toyota? Well, let’s face it, things can’t get much worse!

    Perhaps more leaders should try it (and maybe men should too)!!!