Why Did the Dean Scream Ruin His Career?- A look at the Consequences of Public Outbursts
It is no secret that the occasional public outburst can damage an individual’s reputation in an instant. For many individuals in the public spotlight, such as members of the academic community, unexpected displays of emotion can determine an individual’s path for years to come. For example, in 2019, a college dean at the University of Hawaii recently experienced the damaging aftermath of such an outburst.
When the university found itself over budget, the dean put his foot down and exploded in anger. His tirade, that many considered “inappropriately loud and aggressive,” was heard by staff and student bystanders. The consequences of his public display of emotion were immediate and dramatic.
Fired and Reputation in Tatters
The dean was promptly removed from his position and an investigation was held to determine if any legal charges should be filed. The university found itself in a tricky situation – the dean had a long-standing reputation with the college and was considered a “pillar” of the college’s staff. It seemed as though the dean’s career was over, forever tarnished by his moment of rage.
Lessons to be Learned
The incident made headlines across the country and is a lesson for those in positions of leadership. Those in authority no doubt understand the tremendous power of a single moment, especially when those moments occur in public. By understanding this power, one can learn to harness it for successful, productive change.
Here are some of the lessons to take away from the University of Hawaii incident:
- Be aware of your emotions. Emotions, especially anger, can lead to impulsive decisions that can have huge consequences. Leaders must be aware of the power of their emotions and strive to remain aware of how they are being received by those around them.
- Do not underestimate the power of public behavior. Environments which involve the public, such as classrooms, can be intimidating and as such, emotional outbursts may be seen as a sign of lack of control by those in power.
- Be aware of potential legal ramifications. In some cases, public outbursts could lead to legal action and could possibly be considered assault or even criminal activity.
- Respect those around you. Respectful behavior should be a priority for those in positions of leadership. By behaving in an appropriate and understanding manner, leaders can maintain their credibility, influence, and power.
The consequences of the dean’s outburst were severe and long-lasting, and serve as a reminder of the power of public behavior. It is important to remember that one outburst, no matter how brief, can ruin an individual’s reputation and career trajectory, and as such, it is important to be mindful of the potential consequences of any public behavior.