A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you

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A Soap Box Moment – is it reasonable?

“Sometimes, it takes being pissed to get you over a hump.”

That’s not an eloquent saying, I know, but nonetheless, it holds true today.

I’ve had writer’s block for awhile…I have managed to squeak out a post here and there but it’s been difficult…I just haven’t felt overly inspired.

But today, I read something that pissed me off…and so I’ve climbed over the hump and I’m writing about it.

I won’t go into details but here’s the summary:

A governor nominates who he believes is a bright, intelligent, insightful, credible and promising man to one of the state’s commissions.

Within a week, the governor withdraws the nomination because of what he considers “questionable” behavior on Social Media.

Wait, what?

Was it child porn?

Is the nominee a political activist gone wrong?

Has he publicly castigated finding a cure for cancer?

Does he love the Kardashians?

Is he a fly-by-night Seahawks fan?

Whatever could it be?

It turns out, the young man had a Facebook account!

Say it isn’t so!     (Of course, he must not be that young if he’s on FB! HA!)

Anyway, there in his albums were multiple vacation photos!

Yes indeed, clear as day, there they were…not hidden or reserved for only friends and family and Aunt Lucy’s cats…pictures of beautiful beaches and this man wearing a bathing suit! (Swim trunks, mind you, the kind that go down past mid-thigh.)

And (I quickly saw where the trouble was) he’s drinking a beer or other alcoholic tasty beverages!

Oh, (the shame, the shame) one was with a girl who had her hand close to his crotch.

 

Seriously?

Don’t get me wrong; I think we should all be mindful of what we place on the Internet and I often caution people of all ages to watch what they share. I tell them things like profanity, bad-mouthing others, crude pictures or behavior, etc. can easily come back to haunt them.

In this case, nothing in these photos should haunt this man today, tomorrow or years from now. If anything, I noticed (and totally passed judgment on) what type of beer he was drinking before I noticed he was sitting in close proximity to a lovely woman.

 

My point is, a reasonable person would not find these pictures to be offensive.

A reasonable person would not find these pictures somehow representative of this man’s ability or inability to add value at work.

A reasonable person would not find these pictures worthy of dismissing all of the good characteristics about this man.

On the other hand, a reasonable person would likely find the governor’s actions to be totally UNREASONABLE.

 

I develop and teach courses regarding discrimination and harassment prevention – I have been doing this type of work since I was in my mid-twenties. My advice to all types of employees, supervisors and managers has always been to keep their own perceptions in check…that these perceptions are not necessarily reasonable.

I teach them to ALWAYS consider a person’s intellect, capacity, and experience.

I ask that they consider the value one has or is adding to the workplace and to analyze one’s ideas and his/her drive and motivation to think and work harder.

I challenge them to push aside their own perceptions about the person’s “personality” and instead, focus on his/her character and behaviors that are related to the job at hand.

The governor, when he nominated this man, focused on all the things that would make him a valuable member of the particular commission: his mind, his ideas, his experience, and his determination.

Yesterday, I believe the governor made a grave error and allowed someone or something to persuade him otherwise when he condemned the same man for something that does not affect his ability to add value to the work.

It kills me that we are so willing to ignore or forgive professional athletes, politicians, or actors/actresses of truly atrocious and offensive behavior but yet we don’t offer even the slightest acceptance for our neighbors.
I’ll climb down from my soap box now…but I’ll leave you with one last thought:
We can do better, folks…we must do better.
AcceptanceFairnessGood FaithHuman ResourcesLeadershipRole of HRSocial MediaTrustValue

Heather Kinzie • February 12, 2015


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Comments

  1. Jeanne Haave February 12, 2015 - 5:17 pm Reply

    Heather,
    I thought the same thing, though not so eloquently, when I heard about this. Good on you for writing and sharing.
    Jeanne

    • Heather Kinzie February 18, 2015 - 7:57 am Reply

      Thank you for your kind words, Jeanne!

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