As we drag our slightly more tanned (and slightly less toned) bodies back into the office, the year stretches out in front of us and the cogs slowly start churning into gear. New Years resolutions aren’t quite banished from our minds. In fact, it all seems quite do-able at this stage. You were at the end of your tether (and practically ran out the office door) come Christmas. But after a few weeks of R&R (G&T’s, coronas & limes, left-over Christmas ham sandwiches) those little niggles aren’t quite so niggly, the inbox mountain is climb-able and office morale is at an all time high.
The question is, how do we keep this up? As an employer, how do you keep your team on an even keel? As an employee, how do you ensure you keep your eye on the prize without losing your integrity?
We could learn a thing or two from Lance Armstrong and his doping denial/admission roller coaster , apparently the only news worth reporting in the post holiday media haze.
Once the golden boy of racing, Lance has taken a spectacular tumble from glory and the implications spread far and wide. In the court of Oprah he has confessed to being a drug user, a bully, an ”arrogant prick”; but not a cheat.
As he sees it, the system made him do it, Lance was merely doing his best to level the playing field. What is remarkable is the parallels that can be drawn between Lance and your run of the mill, stock standard workplace bully. Blaming others, taking credit where its not due, claaaaasic bully moves. As for the system, when such behavior is ignored or disregarded by HR and management, it tends to serve as implicit acceptance of the behaviour.. the moral of the story, it’s not so different, problems need to be addressed at both the individual level and the systemic.
Aside from the bullying, most employment issues that come through our door could have been resolved by going back to the basics. Employment law isn’t rocket science, it is generally common sense with a healthy serving of understanding and compromise. Lance didn’t compromise; by launching defamation claims against anyone who tackled him he burned a lot of people and eventually he got burnt himself.
While Lance’s reputation lies in tatters that even Oprah hasn’t been able to sew back together we could all remember a few things that Lance forgot..
Own your mistakes.. whether you cut a corner or just forget, in the workplace you will make mistakes aplenty. It’s how you deal with it that matters. Time for another cliche.. honesty really is the best policy. If you face your mistakes quickly, honestly and with minimal fuss you might just avoid digging yourself into a Lance sized hole. If you cut corners and hope that no one will see you might slip below the radar once or twice but at some point it will come back to bite you.
Reputation is everything... be it in day to day life or in business your reputation is your brand, use it wisely, protect it, once you’ve lost it you may never get it back. Integrity matters.. winning is great, winning at all costs, not so great. The power of a brand relies on goodwill and name recognition earned over time.. while Lance has plenty of the former, even the Big O hasn’t managed to scrape back much of the latter from the general population, recent polls showing that the masses aren’t going to forgive or forget anytime soon.
Remember that old adage “there’s no I in team”.. there’s a reason for these cliques, darn it, they’re usually on the money. Think of the bigger picture- not just yourself. Try not to step on too many people as you climb up that corporate ladder.
In more basic terms.. Just be nice to people– on your way up, on your way down, whether youre in a position of power or at the bottom of the heap.
And here’s the biggy, the secret to work place harmony and lifelong happiness..
Don’t lie, as I said earlier, its not rocket science. In the highly connected digital world the truth has a sneaky way of coming out.
- The best Lance Armstrong jokes (tabloidtruths.com)
- Travis Tygart 60 Minutes interview: Lance Armstrong lied to Oprah (aol.sportingnews.com)
- Lance Armstrong Confesses Doping to Oprah; Hub on Wheels Comments His Confession Will Unlikely Help Him Compete Again (prweb.com)