The problem? Ripa got blindsided by finding out the same time as the rest of the world. Ouch.
After ABC executives apologized for their poor judgment, a redemptive Ripa has since used this experience (and her platform) to take a stand for herself and speak out about healthy workplace habits.
While she has forgiven her bosses, Ripa is not letting them completely off the hook. She is calling attention to how this "national nightmare" could have possibly been avoided if three leadership habits were present:
- Authentic and open communication
- Consideration for your employees
- And most importantly, "respect in the workplace."
And she is dead on.
In the work we do, we teach leaders and managers of all levels the same three principles of servant leadership. What Kelly Ripa doesn't mention, and we know from science, is that these habits can lead to a great work culture and long-term financial success.
Authentic and Open Communication
I'll give Ripa's executive bosses -- Ben Sherwood, the president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, and his leadership team -- credit for owning up to their "misfire" and personally apologizing to both Ripa and Strahan.
Vulnerable leaders don't hide the truth, and if the news is potentially bad, they honor others with it, and work through any potential conflict with dignity and respect (I'll get to that one in a minute).
People will respond to such leaders because they can trust them. And, as is often the case, teams and whole companies are motivated to the rafters in trustworthy organizations. Why? Because they feel safe under such a leader.
When employees are allowed to take risks, communicate ideas openly, provide input to decisions without reprimand, and collaborate alongside their leaders as partners -- not worker bees -- your employee satisfaction surveys will skyrocket.
Consideration for your employees
Kelly Ripa explains of getting the news late in an exclusive interview with PEOPLE Magazine (coming out on newsstands this Friday):
"There's a part of me that can say, 'Okay, I understand. This may have been an oversight.' And again, after 26 years, at this point we are like a family. And sometimes when you are so comfortable with somebody, you may not give them the same consideration as somebody you're not as comfortable with - a certain formality falls away."
Ripa tells PEOPLE that she was equally concerned for members of her show's "family" because they "count on show stability for their jobs."
She says people were coming to her asking, "Tell us this is going to be okay. Are we going to be okay?"
What ABC bosses may be missing is the profound need for their employees to know what's going on at all times, especially during times of transition and uncertainty.
Leaders that set clear expectations, define goals, and communicate openly are providing assurance and sending a message to their employees that "we care enough about you that we want you to know what's going on."
Authentic and open communication is the ultimate act of consideration, and it releases discretionary effort in your tribe. They respond by going above and beyond, leading to higher performance and productivity. This is about emotional engagement!
Respect in the workplace
In the PEOPLE cover story, Ripa leaves no doubt about the importance of respect in decision-making, and factoring in human emotions:
"I think that all people are deserving of fair treatment in the work place. People deserve respect [and] should be treated equally and with dignity. I think that requires a certain amount of empathy on a level. When you're dealing with big business, it's easy to forget that you're dealing with people and that people have feelings. It's easy to just look at it like a business unit."
Case in point: Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, illustrates the business case for a culture of respect in her book Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others.
One of the reasons for Popeyes' incredible financial turnaround was Bachelder's conscious decision to create a new workplace (with rigorous measures in place) where people were treated with respect and dignity.
It worked. By 2014, profits were up 40 percent and the stock price was over $40 (from $13 in 2007).
Thank you, Kelly Ripa
I tip my cap to Kelly Ripa for using a harrowing experience under the celebrity limelight as an opportunity to start a global conversation about better, healthier, workplace practices. Every employee deserves it.