The other day I was waiting in line at the quick check-out counter at our local grocery store. Many of you have been there, where only fifteen items or less are accepted. Ahead of me were a couple of physically challenged customers. One, a woman in a wheel chair and the other, a male who was also physically challenged. He appeared to have MS. They had more than fifteen items and because of their challenges they were slow and the woman's wheel chair wouldn't fit into a regular check-out counter. Behind me was an impatient woman, who complained out loud, "You're only allowed fifteen items. I'[m in a hurry." She said this several times. How would you deal with the women behind you?
When you draw a line in the sand, it suggests you will not cross it if you are challenged. The line usually represents a value you hold as unbreakable. If you crossed the line you have compromised what you feel is important and valuable. In a way, when you cross it, you have diminished 'who your are.' How many lines have you drawn and then crossed them? Remember Goethe said, "Choice not chance determines your destiny."
It's bitterly cold outside. Winter has set, the temperature is approaching 20 below and the wind is picking up. Pete encounters a man in the parking lot at his local mall. The man wore winter boots, gloves and a winter coat. He must of been there for some time as he was shivering. As Pete was loading his groceries in the trunk of his new SUV, the man approached him and asked him for a few dollars so he could get something to eat and warm up. Pete didn't think the fellow look homeless, after all he was dressed pretty decently. Pete asked him where he was from. The man said he had hitched hiked to Regina because he heard there was work available here.
"A likely story," thought Pete, "I heard that one before."
Pete paused, the man looked sincere, and although he was dressed well, he was shivering. Or was the shivering just an act. Maybe the man needed cash for some drugs, or maybe not. Maybe the man was really hungry. How was Pete to know?
What should Pete do? More importantly, what would you do?
Sheila is a dedicated manager/leader who is driven by purpose and passion. She enjoys her employment and has no difficulty coming to the office early and staying late. She feels it's her way of showing her team about commitment and loyalty. Others see her as a hardworking, engaging, and extending herself to meet the needs of her team and customers. Sheila also has a habit of taking on work she should delegate to others. She feels she is protecting her team members from over-work and stress. She says, "I would rather do the work myself, then have an over stressed workplace." Sheila has made an interested choice which may lead to her own burnout. What other choices does Sheila have? Is this the choice you would make?
Jean works in a care home for the elderly. She observes that one of her co-workers isn't treating the residents with respect and compassion. Her co-worker tends to be a bit rough and impatient with them and tends to rush through her responsibilities without due care and attention. Jean also notes that her co-worker's behaviour is inconsistent in that whenever her manager or a visitor is on the floor she presents herself differently. Her negative behaviours are kept in check. Jean knows her co-worker is not providing the best of care, but she doesn't want to report her observations about her co-worker to her manager. What should Jean do? More importantly what would you do?
December is a time when companies bring employees together to celebrate. Some go offsite to have a party while others find ways to celebrate onsite. The point is that this is a time when people come together to socialize, thank one another and exchange kindnesses. However, it is also a time when some very serious personal mistakes occur. These usually involve drinking alcohol, and now perhaps getting too high on marijuana (where it is legal). It is a time to choose. Should we take that one more drink or one more puff of weed? The choice we make may have severe consequences leading to death on the highway, a broken relationship because of inappropriate behavior, or a rupture in the workplace due to misplaced anger. Make sure your choice is both on the right side of the law and your personal dignity and integrity. Take care out there. You are important and needed.
Jim approaches you. Jim is your boss. He asks you to give an honest opinion of his idea. What goes through your mind? Do thoughts like: if I tell him what I really think I may lose my job, or, he will think less of me, or, he may not give me that raise I think I deserve. What if his idea is illegal, dangerous or unsafe. Do you make your boss feel good and cosy up to him, or do you tell the truth? Maybe you fudge your answer or maybe you tell him what you think is a 'little white lie." What choice will you make?
What do you do when you are confronted with an unpredictable boss? Lucy is caught in an ethical minefield. She never knows what her boss's next move will be. He says one thing and does another; he blames others rather than take ownership for his own decisions; he loves the 'bright lights' when things go right, but hides behind others when things go south; he likes to be liked and gets angry when things don’t go his way; he want's to roll out new products and services before due diligence and process is completed; he operates from misinformation and his own bias without checking facts and coming to grips with his stereotypical approaches. Lucy needs the work and he pays her extremely well; she is competent in what she does and is confident in her abilities. She enjoys her work but is constantly faced with ethical dilemmas. Does all this sound familiar? What should Lucy do? More importantly, what would you do?
Paul thought he was successful. You see Paul was deeply in debt so to get out of debt he robbed a bank. Paul was never caught for his crime. He paid off all of his debts. He thought he was successful, but he is still not out of debt. He owes the bank a huge sum of money. Ah but there is more. After paying off his debt he still had money left over, enough to invest to pursue the good life. Over the years Paul was never caught. Do we forgive Paul or does he still have to pay his dues for robbing the bank? Did Paul build his fortune with money that wasn't rightfully his? What choices does Paul have now? Was he successful? How does this apply in the workplace?
How would you respond to your employer who praises you for a job well done, while knowing full well that your colleague did most of the work?
Would you respond without reference to your colleague? Or, only mention him in passing? Or, make sure he gets most of the credit? Or, move the conversation so that both of you get credit?
How you respond is an ethical choice and will reflect on your integrity.