Perhaps, Mr Fernandes’ behaviour could be justified as part of a relaxed, easy-going and informal workplace culture – where staff do not bat an eye at the big boss showing some skin and adeptly multi-tasking. A spokesperson from AirAsia later defended this incident, speaking to the “fun, friendly and open culture” of the airline company.
But, commenters on the now-deleted LinkedIn post were quick to point out it is unlikely other AirAsia employees could get away with the same behaviour in a professional meeting.
Rather than culture, it is probably Mr Fernandes’ position of status and authority that allowed him to behave this way. How many employees would voice their objection or discomfort?
PERSONAL BRAND AFFECTS CORPORATE REPUTATION
Moreover, Tony Fernandes has cultivated a public persona characterised by his unorthodox approach to business and willingness to take risks. Indeed, some netizens have come to his defence, citing his unconventional leadership style and his right to make choices that align with his personal brand.
But what’s the cost of aligning personal branding with actions that challenge traditional norms? It becomes a delicate balance between individuality and the image of the company.
While individuality and personal branding are essential, boundaries should be respected. The behaviour of CEOs is not merely personal but an integral facet of a company’s branding and reputation.
Personal conduct can be a form of reputational risk. Bernard Looney, CEO of BP, resigned in September for failing to fully disclose previous relationships with colleagues. The energy company said leaders are “expected to act as role models and to exercise good judgment”.
Source: Channel News Asia