"Nissan's Ghosn agrees to skip bonus as profits fall", reports Bloomberg.
Nissan just lost the no 1 spot in Japan to Honda, and its net profit took a dip for the first time in seven years.
CEO Carlos Ghosn is therefore not taking his bonus. "It is a symbolic way of taking responsibility," said Yoshihito Okimura, an asset manager with the Chiba-Gin asset management company.
Considering that most stories related to CEO compensations are about how grossly overpaid they are, this is certainly a refreshing change.
In India we aren't likely to see such gestures anytime soon. With a booming economy managers will take responsibility, if anything, for rising profits. And demand their share in the form of a bonus/ increment etc.
However, the idea of 'taking responsibility' I feel is still relevant. Even if a company is doing well overall, individual managers and employees may not be contributing their bit. Yet they expect equality when it comes to sharing the spoils from the gravy train.
Performance appraisals, for example, have become something of a joke. Take the example of employee X who receives feedback that he/ she has not been upto the mark and therefore gets a lower increment than the peer group.
Assuming there is no politics or backstabbing involved and this a 'fair' evaluation, does said employee take the feedback constructively? Does he vow to do better next time? Uh huh, but there is no next time. Because the hunt for a new job is well under way already...
Employers find a gun is being held to their heads. Salaries are inching upwards every 3-6 months. You have to pay more simply to keep people with you - performance is a secondary issue. Yes performers get more, but even non-performers get more than they deserve.
There is simply no choice.
In this context the message sent out by Ghosn is a meaningful one. Take responsibility - for both results and failures. That's what 'leadership' is about, at the collective level. And that's what 'character' boils down to, for each individual.
Otherwise it's all mere jargon.