4 Questions for Enterprise Leaders in Mild of the Joe Rogan Controversy

Opinions expressed are solely these of the writer and don’t mirror the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.

Joe Rogan isn’t any stranger to controversy, and in current weeks, a brand new controversy has emerged. By now, you’re probably aware of the saga: The podcaster has been dealing with criticism for spreading misinformation in regards to the Covid-19 vaccine, in addition to utilizing racial slurs on air. In response, a number of influential artists have pulled their content material off of Spotify. As well as, the acclaimed researcher Brené Brown quickly halted her podcast on the platform. As an artist and enterprise proprietor, the controversy has introduced some inquiries to mild, questions that I believe each enterprise chief ought to ask themselves. 

Earlier than I dive into these questions, I need to clearly state that I discover Rogan’s phrases and actions reprehensible and I’m on no account concerned about defending him. Reasonably, I’m concerned about analyzing what different enterprise leaders can be taught from each Spotify’s response and Rogan’s responses — good or unhealthy. 

1. How can we deal with individuals who have genuinely apologized for doing one thing mistaken?

Individuals are sophisticated. For each good factor somebody does, generally they do issues that aren’t good. That applies to me — I struggled with alcoholism for years and, because of my habit, undoubtedly did and mentioned issues I’m not happy with. In my 25 years of sobriety from alcohol, I’ve strived to make amends the place applicable. That doesn’t imply that each apology I made was accepted. The fact is that apologies don’t erase the previous. However I used to be in a position to be trustworthy with individuals about how I wronged them and come clean with my poor actions. 

In Rogan’s case, he known as his use of the N-word “essentially the most regretful and shameful factor” that he’s “ever needed to discuss publicly” and mentioned the clips in a compilation video of him utilizing the racial slur had been “taken out of context.” Nonetheless, I believe what he mentioned about his use of the racial slur fell quick; I don’t view it as an precise, real apology. It doesn’t matter what context he used that racial slur in every time; he by no means, ever ought to have used it to start with. 

Rogan additionally mentioned he must do extra analysis earlier than that includes controversial scientists on his podcast, and instructed Spotify he’s sorry they’re “taking a lot warmth” because of the scenario. He additionally eliminated some episodes of his podcast from Spotify. However is that sufficient? 

I don’t suppose that Rogan genuinely apologized. However as a enterprise proprietor, you’ve in all probability confronted eventualities the place individuals have tousled and did genuinely apologize. There’ll even be occasions whenever you mess up and have to genuinely apologize. How must you deal with an individual on this situation? How would you need somebody to deal with you? 

It’s vital to recollect, nobody owes anybody else acceptance or understanding after receiving an apology, however I don’t suppose it’s a stretch to say that as individuals, all of us hope that the opposite individual would hearken to our apology and acknowledge it, even when they don’t settle for it. And hopefully, we’d be given a chance to vary our conduct for the higher shifting ahead. 

When desirous about how you can deal with individuals who have apologized for doing one thing mistaken, some questions to contemplate embrace: 

  • Did the individual genuinely apologize? 
  • Has the individual communicated how they’ll enhance sooner or later?
  • Are you in an area the place you need to settle for the apology, or simply acknowledge it?

2. When can we afford individuals a chance to vary?

Let’s say you interview a stellar job candidate who has all of the data and expertise you need for a selected position at your group. However throughout the background examine, you be taught that the candidate was jailed for theft 10 years in the past. 

Must you take away that candidate from hiring consideration, regardless that they’ve modified for the higher since then? For me, personally, the reply is “no.” I might moderately consider that candidate’s character primarily based on who they’re now versus who they had been then. I wouldn’t need to toss somebody who can deliver nice worth to my enterprise over a mistake they made a decade in the past. 

Some issues we should always ask ourselves — and, when applicable, the opposite individual — in these conditions embrace: 

  • Has the individual expressed regret for what they did prior to now? 
  • Has the individual apologized to the damage events? 
  • How has the individual demonstrated that they’ve modified from their previous self? 

The Rolling Stone Tradition Council is an invitation-only neighborhood for Influencers, Innovators and Creatives. Do I qualify?

3. The place can we draw the road? 

There are occasions when having conversations is warranted. Earlier than we finish skilled relationships, we should always ask ourselves if we now have a chance to teach somebody on the place they went mistaken. Nonetheless, that dedication relies on the scenario at hand. We additionally have to know the place to attract the road. 

As enterprise leaders, generally we do want to finish knowledgeable relationship as a result of a dialog simply received’t work. Abuse of any type, for instance, shouldn’t be tolerated. And naturally, there are occasions when having a dialog with somebody and dealing with them to encourage optimistic change is simply an excessive amount of emotional labor

When deciding the place the traces are, listed here are some questions to contemplate: 

  • Did the individual’s phrases or actions hurt others, and in that case, to what extent? 
  • Will having a dialog with this individual and dealing alongside them to encourage optimistic change be too emotionally taxing for you? 
  • When you’re keen to converse with that individual and provides them one other probability, how will you consider their phrases and actions shifting ahead?

4. How can we use our platforms as enterprise leaders? 

I problem myself and different enterprise leaders to consider how we use our skilled platforms. It’s a query Spotify needs to be reflecting on proper now — how do they need to use the platform they’ve created? 

I don’t consider that chopping off skilled relationships is the one device in our toolbox. What if, by you intervening and giving that individual suggestions, that individual can be taught one thing and alter their conduct, and even educate others sooner or later? 

Earlier than we reduce ties with somebody in our skilled lives, listed here are some questions we should always take into consideration: 

  • What ought to your position be, if any, in serving to this individual redirect?
  • When you resolve to assist this individual redirect themselves, how will you measure their development to see in the event that they’ve modified for the higher? 
  • What’s going to you do if this individual continues exhibiting troubling or dangerous conduct? 

As enterprise leaders, we should always completely combat oppression, which incorporates holding ourselves and people round us accountable. If we go about life as stewards of one another, choosing tougher heart-to-hearts as an alternative of instantly severing all ties, we could be stunned at how a lot the world can progress. 


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