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Issue 57 - 03 | Righteous Anger: “Mad as Hell” at “Greed is Good”

By Robert J. Bies & Thomas M. Tripp
Published April 9, 2009 3:40 a.m.
“It is easy to wallow in the magnitude of the current catastrophe. But to prevent the next catastrophe, we must examine how and why the fall occurred. After all, the best solution is not to pad the ground, but to prevent the slip—more accurately, to prevent the many slips that culminate in the final slip before the fall. Corporate leaders have slipped, repeatedly. And finally—inevitably—they fell, hard. On us. After so many slips and slides, they should have seen the fall was coming, and done something about it.

But they didn't, and so here we are. So, what's next? How do leaders prevent the next slip? That is, what can leaders do to defuse the current anger and lessen its likelihood in the future? The answer is to treat people fairly, and when that fails, rebuild the trust.

Sounds too simple? It's not, but it is basic. This is why when the cynics and critics say that that is warmed-over recommendations from the past, we reply: Go back to basics; we know what works. In fact, what got us in this mess were leaders ignoring those tried-and-true basics.”

About Robert J. Bies & Thomas M. Tripp | Robert J. Bies and Thomas M. Tripp are co-authors of Getting Even: The Truth About Workplace Revenge—And How to Stop It (Jossey-Bass, 2009). Robert J. Bies is a professor of management and founder of the Executive Master’s in Leadership Program at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Bies’s current research focuses on leadership and the delivery of bad news, organizational justice, and revenge and forgiveness in the workplace. Thomas M. Tripp is a professor of management and operations at Washington State University. Professor Tripp has published dozens of research articles in scientific journals on the subject of workplace conflict and organizational justice.

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