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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Double Standards

Do as I say and not as I do.

Isn't that what we often like to tell our children? Isn't it often what we subliminally say to our team members at work? Don't our actions often give us away here?

It's been a long time since I was in the Service, but waaay back then, we used to have to periodically wear our chemical protective suits and gas masks 4 hours at a time while performing our normal duties. The idea was to help us get acclimated to wearing the gear so we would be better prepared in case of a gas attack. As you might imagine, the suits were very hot and the masks were very hard to breathe through, especially when making any exertion at all.

If any of the soldiers were caught sneaking a breath of fresh air during the exercise, they would definitely get in trouble. However, many of the leaders would find opportunities to sneak away and peel off their masks for a few minutes. The thing is, the troops weren't stupid. They knew their supervisors had gone "missing". Sometimes they even saw their bosses "cheating."

The excuse was that they were older and had issues with heat or lung capacity, but I suspect the real reason those leaders took off their masks was they thought they could get away with it AND they deserved special treatment because their rank afforded them such. It was just one more bit of "evidence" to the soldiers that a double standard existed even though it was regularly denied.

We probably wouldn't like it if our bosses adopted a "do as I say, not as I do" attitude, would we? Then why would it OK to embrace that same attitude with our folks?

I challenge all of us to take a look at the requirements we place on our team members and ourselves; then we need to evaluate how we measure up to our requirements. Our team members probably know, so we should, too.

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