The promotion of standards, best practice and responsible behaviour have been continually echoed in all quarters, as the society works to come to grips with the fallout from declining morals, ethical behaviour and indiscipline. Although many reasons can be advanced in accounting for these failings, it is nonetheless difficult to get a pulse of any single contributing factor.
Uncharitable as it may seem, it is possible that the society is responding accordingly to the actions of those who preach do as I say but not as I do. For those of us who reason well, the only conclusion to be drawn from this is that is the platform for the promotion of double standards.
Those who may be quick to proportion blame on any group or segment of the society may wish to consider that the problem is a wider societal one, the starting point of which is a decline in the socialization process. It is becoming more evident that there is an apparent drift, whereupon individuals are more concerned with self-interest than anything else.
Some might want to refer to this as selfishness. This in itself is a fundamental departure from what existed before as far as the building of a cooperative society, in which the citizens and workers respected laws, rules, regulations and, most of all, authority.
The departure from traditional and fundamental practices, which were embedded in the observance of values, norms and mores, has made the society and the workplace a much different place. Training and retraining have been identified as a vehicle to bring about this change, but it would seem that it is not making the anticipated significant dent.
There are some basic expectations of all those who enter the workplace. These include shown respect, courtesy, discipline, honesty, cooperation, and good work attitude.
Unfortunately, there is usually a failing somewhere in the mix, as it would seem individuals tend to showcase what they consider befits their personality. The problem appears to be that the individual’s personality tends to override all other things, for, amongst other things, they are often driven by a level of pretence and pride. Alas, there is also the grave issue of swollen or inflamed egos.
Those who enter the workforce and those who lead or manage our various societal institutions, businesses enterprises, political and civil society organizations are products of the society in which we live. It therefore shouldn’t come as a surprise that what we see in the mirror, is what we will get. The problem is that some of the products of our society can prove to be a challenge, simply because of how they perceive themselves, or are perceived by others.
Corrective action is always an appropriate remedy. The hard fact is that more often than not many of these failings on the part of the individual are ignored, or the individual given a slap on the wrist. The cliché “who the cat like he licks” fits perfectly into this discussion.
It is usually the likeable employee or charismatic leader who enjoys this comfort. With such latitude being extended, much is taken for granted. It is when the individual falls woefully short that the institution is presented with a challenge instituting a form of disciplinary action.
The consequence of this is that the employee or leader takes certain liberties, knowing that the “horse has bolted from the stable” and there is no turning back now. Those in leadership and management positions should quickly recognize that is not enough to promote standards, best practice and responsible behaviour, but also recognize that they have a responsibility to lead by example in every respect.
Failure to comply will most likely result in the loss of respect and support, and can possibly lead to the disgrace of oneself.
(Dennis De Peiza is a labour management consultant with Regional Management Services Inc. Visit the website www.regionalmanagement services.com. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)