"The gaffe when he thought the microphone was off might not be the major reason Gordon Brown didn't win the British election. But it showed that he forgot a leadership lesson: Act as if the audio is always on.
At a rally shortly before the election, Prime Minister Brown was asked some awkward questions about foreign workers that he answered politely. A few minutes later, he was heard over an open channel and later the broadcast airwaves complaining to aides for exposing him to 'a bigoted woman.' His insult and apology dominated press coverage.
There is no 'off' switch for leaders. There is barely a backstage. Leaders walk around with spotlights, cameras, and microphones on them all the time."