Leading can be a fickle business. One moment, you're on top of the world. The next, you're a villain. No story more poignantly captures the essence of this problem than that of Joe Paterno. The "face" of Penn State University for decades, Joe Paterno was a leader admired by many. He taught generations of young men the value of education and athletics, and many a Penn State alum can attest that "JoePa" cared about more than just those on his football team. His giving certainly reflects that - he and his family reportedly have donated more than $4 million to Penn State.
Unfortunately, for many others, those points of recognition forever faded after sexual abuse allegations were raised against Jerry Sandusky and many asked what JoePa knew and why he didn't do more. The man who was carried on the shoulders of his players after winning national championships and becoming the coach with the most wins at the DI level was unceremoniously relieved of his coaching responsibilities in November by a Board of Trustees who thought he should have done more.
It's a stark contrast - the man who was "legend" for his leadership is now "infamous" for his handling (or non-handling) of a sexual abuse allegation.
In my mind, the lesson for leaders is to watch every step you take. Your legacy will be defined by ALL of your actions.
Regardless of whether it's fair, Joe Paterno's legacy will carry an asterisk beside it, and he will never be mentioned for the good things he did without reference to the Sandusky allegations.
Will your legacy have an asterisk? Becky