What’s with August and #tech?

Okay, you may associate it with Twitter because of the hashtag but actually we are here to talk about being a Leader in the technology sector … and the controversies that go with it. On what and how?

Abel Lenz (L) and Tim Armstrong (R)

Abel Lenz (L) and Tim Armstrong (R)

Tim Armstrong

Last August, we heard the last thing we ever wanted to hear from a boss when AOL CEO Tim Armstrong fired Abel Lenz on the spot in a conference call. As reported, everyone on the call overheard this – and essentially, the incident echoed around the globe.

Pretty embarrassing, eh? Sure. You may be executives of large companies but that does not make you less human or scandal-proof. In fact, things get even magnified, you should know that. Click here to review what happened.

I don’t know if Abel Lenz knows that though not on the audio side, taking pictures is a form of recording. His actions were not helpful at that time not only to the employees but especially to a Leader in distress. Yes, the meeting was difficult as he had to deal with the struggles of AOL and Patch to which many people’s livelihoods were affected, but hmm… should Lenz have taken a counter measure?

While many would curse Armstrong for his public humiliation of Lenz, I say the board should review his tenure. How long has he been with AOL? Since 2009? What has he done since? Reduce Patch’s costs by what, 25%? How, streamlining? That’s a very common move, and not a real solution to real good executives. So, what’s his revenue-generating plans for AOL? How about cost-reduction strategies for Patch other than firing people? See, now that emotional outburst only gave doubt to his leadership ability, regardless of his apology.

Wonder how Lenz is doing nowadays? More so, Tim Armstrong?

Marissa Mayer

Then not to be outdone, we saw another executive Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer grab the headlines as she posed for Vogue’s September issue. Wait a minute, what’s wrong with posing for that magazine? Was she indecent? Nah, it was all about what she wears for work. Ah, see?!

Yahoo's Marissa Mayer poses for Vogue

Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer poses for Vogue

Let’s see. On the photography side, I think although the Michael Kors, the lighting and the background looked nice, the posture from the hip to the ankle made Mayer look pretty stiff – almost like a mannequin.

Now, the issue must be because of her pose per se. Right. As some leaders would say, her pose was not that of a CEO in a company trying to remain relevant but that of a “sexy” woman. Agreed. And so the debate goes…

Is there a double standard on how men and women leaders should dress up and act? To some point, there is. The wildest lifestyle I’ve known is that of Richard Branson but he’s not really castigated for it.

Bottom line is … although we are all entitled to express ourselves, if you want real respect especially as a Leader, it should be done fittingly. Surely there should be appropriate clothing and decent postures for executives, man or woman. Thence, from now on, call out any executive you see posing suggestively.

What’s your take?