I was recently struck by the story of ousted Yahoo executive Carol Bartz: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/technology/carol-bartzs-blunt-e-mail-on-firing-raises-issues.html?_r=1&ref=technology This article is worth a read, if you have time. Essentially, Ms. Bartz received a phone call from Yahoo’s chairman “relieving her of her duties”. In keeping with her character, she sent the following email message to all Yahoo employees:
I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.
Of course, this email stirred up a lot of controversy and has organizational behavior experts all a-chatter. Though I admittedly know very little about the history of this situation, or Ms. Bartz’s background with the company, it would appear that she was fired (in part) for being authentic. She had a reputation for being painfully candid and never censoring herself. From my perspective, she exemplifies a new generation of professionals who value honesty and have a unique desire to let their personalities come through in the workplace. As for the email, consider this quote by Jeffrey Pfeffer (OB professor at Stanford): “The truth helps you improve. When people lose their jobs and there’s no acknowledgement, the potential for learning is lost.”
Personally, I like her (Ms. Bartz’s) style.
I welcome any feedback that anyone would like to share about this situation…