Brian Sanders

Leadership Encouragement “Don’t Go There”

Don’t Go There


It was 3 AM when the party hit a new level. A group of chorus girls were part of the group. Someone suggested that the girls should stand on the dining room table and make it a stage.

Alcohol was flowing freely.

Voices were loud.

In the party atmosphere, the men began throwing things against the wall: plates…glasses…and bottles. The sound of them crashing against the wall and table filled the room. And then it happened…

…a bottle or plate hit one of the girls in the head. She fell to the ground.

It was at that moment the President of the United States, Warren G. Harding, was whisked out of the party and taken back to the White House.

After all, President Harding could not be seen as having any involvement with such a scene.

The girl who had been struck died a few days later.

To quote Jared Cohen from his book Accidental Presidents:

“…a tragedy that was covered up by two central figures with roles in both the Justice Department and the Ohio Gang–Attorney General Harry Daugherty and Bureau of Investigation Chief William ‘Billy’ Burns.”

This lesson should be obvious for anyone: don’t put yourself in compromising situations.

As president, Harding should not have attended such an event. He had partied with the men before and knew what to expect. Doing so allowed for potential incidents like this one that could seriously damage his ability to lead and influence others. Harding shouldn’t have been there, period.

A leader sets an example through honesty and integrity. Harding, on the other hand, tried to make the situation go away.

Here are four things you should take away from this cautionary tale:

  • Avoid compromising situations that can cost you everything.
  • Lead by doing what’s right.
  • Honor your team through your integrity.
  • Don’t be like Harding.


Brian Sanders serves as Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio. He regularly writes and speaks on leadership topics. His new book, “Leadership Endurance,” can be purchased HERE.

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