Many workplaces have core values, examples of which are: respect, honesty, diversity and innovation. A company’s core values are fundamental beliefs upon which business is anchored in order to manage internal operations and organise relationships with customers. These are the standards which the company projects for both internal and external stakeholders associate them with. The Internal stakeholders mostly include; company directors and staff, while external stakeholders may consist of other partners directly or indirectly involved in business with the company.
One might benefit or suffer for upholding company principles. While these are often inscribed on official leaflets and prominently displayed in company premises, management and staff might interpret and apply them differently. An employer might, for example, consider that staff ought to display respect and honesty to the manager without receiving the same in turn. At the same time, an employee who is abundantly honest or who demands respect from the manager is ultimately sure to cause tensions in the workplace somehow. Unless the manager deliberately encourages staff to apply common-sense in their daily operations, most will subdue and always do what they are sure the manager wants.
Although an employee who is sincere will deliver great accomplishments for the company, some managers might become unsettled by such an industrious staff, and find ways to ‘clip his wings’. Some managers can directly reprimand the resourceful staff and even impose penalties on them for going overboard in their work. Others will wait for an occasion when such an employee commits a mistake to literally ‘put the staff in his place.’ At that moment, such a staff would get a severer sentence than he deserves. A manager might even try to create reasons unrelated to the exact
deeds of the candid staff. For example, if a human resource officer openly defends a junior staff against his boss, causing apparent embarrassment, the boss could in turn fault the honest officer for printing a private mail on office stationery. Once the staff know that simple mistakes can be exploited by the manager to settle other scores, they might be compelled to resort to forgery and deceit. Employees should be allowed to acknowledge their mistakes, correct them and increasingly become better.
That is honesty. Anyone can make a mistake. The best manager knows that staff are bound to make mistakes in the course of their work. Yet, they should not be forced to deny or cover up obvious errors because of the manager’s tough stance. Resourceful people know that their capacity is not limited to what is stipulated in the workplace policies and scopes of work. They also know that their rights are not limited to the company manuals and guidelines. All these must conform to national and international employment standards. A manager who does not realise this will not only limit staff productivity and affect the performance of the company adversely, he might also spark off legal battles and cause avoidable liabilities.
In the workplace, many people believe that it is dangerous to be honest and contradict the manager. They would think twice about the consequences of doing what one believes is right as opposed to what the manager wants. Truly, one might attract severe penalties by sticking to what may be right but unknown to the manager; therefore, one protects oneself either by telling lies or by not speaking out at all. Does this always help? Not at all!
A story is told of a staff who was fired because she concealed information which almost ruined the company she worked for. It is bad to confront the manager with the truth, but worse to be penalised for dishonesty.
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