UFC star Conner McGregor was arrested for assault? The account sounds like he threw a vindictive temper tantrum to prove a point that his team can’t be messed with. Conner's decision to participate at any level is a reflection of bad judgement. Analyzing bad judgement in a fit of rage is an interesting exercise in armchair psychology. Some of these reflections are helpful and applicable to personal as well as organizational leadership.
If you haven’t heard yet, here is the initial story from ESPN on the news regarding UFC mega star Conner McGregor.
1. Is this a reflection of that person showing their true colors - it’s them being them culminating in a public display that they cannot deny? On a broader scale than Conner, when someone rages what does it communicate about that person? As a person in a position of leadership daily decisions reflect on character and build up over time to shape the perspective of who you are as a person and your effectiveness as a leader (PIAPOL). Leaders must remember that their primary responsibility is to lead themselves first. Effective leaders lead by example.
2. Is this a reflection of poor team choices? How many celebrities as well as those in a position of leadership choose to surround themselves with yes men? It is important to have complimentary and contrary voices in your inner circle, regardless of your position, so that someone can tell you, “This is a bad idea.” Effective leaders have to bring people into their teams that can build upon their strengths, supplement their weaknesses and are empowered to input especially where there may be blind spots.
3. People in a position of leadership often choose to deal with conflict in extremes - either disappearing from the picture or overreacting to an issue. Both extremes have consequences and can be equally detrimental to the health of a team. Conflict can be valuable and positive even handled correctly. There is not clear manual for these interactions but dealing with the issues in as calm and clear a manner as possible is key to productive resolution. Leaders have given away the luxury of looking around the room to see, “Who is going to deal with this issue.” Take the conflicts head on while you establish processes that build clarity, consistency and accountability.
4. The broader view for organizations such as UFC and president Dana White is to reflect on what behaviors were or were not addressed throughout their history with McGregor. I don’t know enough about their relationship to have an opinion about it but know that this will be part of the discussion. Leaders have the greatest point of power and influence at the point of hire - who you let in the door is one of the most important decisions you can make. Training, engagement, development and discipline are secondary to that primary decision. Dana is drawing a line in the sand on this incident, speculation will circle around whether that line should have been drawn sooner and if the organization did their due diligence in managing their employees prior to this public display.
Do you have more thoughts on this incident in particular as it relates to leadership?
Do you have more thoughts on this incident in context with personal and organizational leadership?
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