One of the things you learn as you get older and get into positions of power is that firing people sucks. Even when it's their fault, you're still telling an individual that they've failed, and that you're taking away their source of income. It will have consequences for them and their families. Even when it's the right thing to do, anyone with a heart and soul should hate it when it comes to that.
That's why I wish those who called for Tim Wolfe's resignation at Mizzou wouldn't celebrate. Through their collective action, student protesters at Mizzou put themselves in positions of power. So did anyone supporting their cause. Their desire was that Tim Wolfe step down, and they received that wish.
This situation, as I wrote earlier, was an opportunity for two groups of people to demonstrate empathy towards the other, listen to each other, and move forward together. Unfortunately, that wasn't how this situation was able to be resolved.
One always has to ask themselves when faced with terminating an individual what they could have done differently, and if their actions, or lack of action, could have prevented the outcome. It's the least a leader can do to prevent something like that from happening again.
More empathy, more listening and more of a desire to work together, from both sides, could have prevented this.
Tim Wolfe seems to acknowledge what he could have done differently. In his resignation speech, he acknowledged that his reaction to racist incidents on campus was lacking, and accepted responsibility for the current climate on campus. He's regretted his decision to not engage with protesters. If he had it to do over again, I'll bet he would do it differently.
Time will only tell if student protesters and their supporters will examine their own hearts to see where they could have better engaged with the president. A desire to listen and work together is a two-way street.
Sometimes things get ugly in this world, out of control, and changes have to be made. By the time Tim Wolfe resigned, it seemed pretty clear that the situation had gotten to the point to where it was necessary.
But this is a real individual, with a real family, and a real life that has just been greatly impacted in a negative way. This situation sure didn't have to turn out this way, and it sure isn't a cause for celebration.
Jason Griffin is a former radio talk-show host who writes & podcasts about business, media, politics & life. Keep up with latest posts by liking on Facebook, following on Twitter, orsubscribing with RSS.