I was taken today by the phrase used in a statement about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s attendance at an event. The question is as the head of any organisation can you do anything in ‘a personal capacity’ or as leader are you always representing the business?
After almost 20 years working in the police it may have clouded my view. Police officers are that 24 hours a day and off duty are still subject to high expectations. It is something that goes with the job and people will not take anything less.
The same can be said if anyone a senior position in any organisation or business. They are directly associated with the company and this doesn’t stop when they go home. CEOs embody the business and both staff and customers will be looking for behaviour that is appropriate. This scrutiny comes with the job and is only set to intensify as social media goes mainstream.
Communicators face a difficult position if those at the top don’t recognise the importance of their actions both in and out of work. They have to be able to explain and demonstrate how people engage with brands and this is very different than some years ago.
As public relations practitioners we also have to see the impact of what we do. In writing this at home in my own time I am very aware of the potential for it to be linked with my day job. Most of the time that won’t be an issue but we have to recognise that it exists. We also have a responsibility to make sure that those at the top of organisations see the true extent of the role and that there can be no ‘personal capacity’.
So very, very true both in that the way anyone behaves out of work has the capcity to reflect on their employer and that so many people ignore this either when it suits them or because the truly don’t get it. Or perhaps it’s the ‘It doesn’t matter, I won’t get caught’ mentality?