Star Jones and Barbara Walters Both Take a Hit to Their Reputations
“I hope you’ll stay with us as long as you want.” Barbara Walters, to Star Jones, on the day Jones announced she was leaving The View.
“Barbara and Bill orchestrated this from day one. She’s known since April she didn’t want to renew my contract.” Commented Star Jones Reynolds to Larry King on CNN.
According to the Southbend Tribune, many of us will never have the chance to stick it to our boss on national TV, a la Star Jones Reynolds in last week’s dust-up with Barbara Walters over Star’s departure from the ABC talk show “The View.” The goal is to leave a job gracefully and maintain your dignity. It seems Star Jones, Barbara Walters and ABC all have lessons to learn in how to handle future employment and exit challenges.
Star, whose contract was not renewed for next season, “ambushed” co-producer Walters on Tuesday with the surprise announcement that she would not return to the show in the fall. She had been set to make the departure public Thursday.
In response, the network immediately sent her packing.
Last Wednesday Walters told viewers, “We worked closely with her representatives, and we gave her time to look for another job. And we hoped that she would announce it here on the program and leave with dignity.”
Whether in front of the camera or inside the confines of a cubicle, there are dos and don’ts to telling the boss that you’re out of here.” A person’s reputation is a very valuable asset, and a messy resignation can harm that,” said Mike Crant, a professor of management at Notre Dame.
Alexandra Levit, author of “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College,” agreed: “If you’ve worked so hard to achieve a strong reputation in the company, to have it diminished in the last couple of weeks is a waste.”
In her book, she gives tips to “fireproof your bridges and make a smooth exit,” such as tell your boss first, give two to four weeks’ notice, and to stay for that full period.
“Unless they ask you to leave immediately … you’re expected to stay on top of your responsibilities until 5 p.m. on your last day,” Levit said.
Emotions can run high during these times, but Kathy Roberts, a senior professional in human resources and operations administrator at Press Ganey in South Bend, stressed maintaining professionalism no matter the reaction from your employer or your personal feelings. Even when you have one foot out of the door, Levit warns not to let everything you may have been holding in off of your chest.
“Resist the urge to bad-mouth people in your company during exit interviews,” she said. “It might be true, but you never know when you’re going to run into these people again. … A lot of times, industries are very small.”
“At that point, you’re leaving, so what good does it do?” she added. “You want to leave under as good circumstances as possible.”
This also applies to the employer.
“How a person was hired and fired should be between the employer and the employee, and not made public,” said Fran Boykins, the president of Michiana’s Society for Human Resource Management chapter.
A few comments from the Reputation Doctor regarding Star Jones, Barbara Walters and ABC’s The View debacle:
Humility was lacking by all.
Star was not humble. Barbara was not humble and ABC was not humble. Spinning and hiding the truth was the approach of the day and all took a reputational hit as a result.
Burning bridges never helps..
ABC is owned by Disney and Disney is a major player in the entertainment business. Star Jones Reynolds will never be welcomed back in the Disney family. It didn’t have to be that way. She made her choice and must also live with the consequences of her choice and her communication.
Can’t we all just get along?
Reputation management 101: when someone has to choose between their own reputation and another’s, they will choose their own reputation first ever time. As a result, Star is defending herself and ABC is defending the rest of the ABC family, including Barbara Walters. Star is no longer on the ABC team and is now considered the enemy. Why? Because of Star’s attitude and comments upon leaving – even when ABC and Barbara Walters handled the situation poorly themselves. Ultimately, Star’s attitude demonstrated her latitude – about curb high. Some are now calling her the Omarosa of daytime TV.
Remember, do the right thing when your reputation is in crisis and seek the counsel of an experienced reputation management expert. It will be a major challenge, but ultimately the rewards of repairing your reputation will be great. Why? Because Your Reputation Is Everything!™