2nd April 2018

You won’t say anything, will you?

Ever been asked to cover for a cheating colleague or dubious workplace activity?

If the television cameras hadn’t picked up the ball tampering in Steve Smith’s Australian cricket team last month maybe we wouldn’t know about it. But others in the team apparently did. Imagine being in a close-knit team, working together towards an agreed goal, and then being asked by one of your teammates to cheat for them, for the ‘good’ of the team.  How would you react?

It is easy to be caught off balance if a colleague asks you to cover for them.  If you’re put on the spot to tell a ‘white lie’ for a cheating colleague or if a teammate pleads with you to turn a blind eye to a dubious act you’ve just witnessed, what do you do?

You know it’s wrong. You know what you should do but in the awkwardness of the moment, face to face with your teammate, friend or colleague, there is a strong urge to conform, to let it pass and to agree to collusion.  I wonder if this happened in the Australian cricket team?

It’s the difficulty of the moment which makes us vulnerable. So, the key thing you need to do is to buy thinking time.  You need to step out of the heat of the situation to give yourself time to reflect – and only then decide what to do.

Our video ‘What To Say When You Encounter an Ethical Breach’ explores this issue and suggests three important questions to ask yourself.  One of them is ‘What would my Mum (or Dad) think?’

Such a simple question but so powerful.  This was perfectly illustrated by the Australian cricket team captain in his press interview on 29th March 2018.  He referred to how his actions had impacted other people and broke down in tears as he said, “…to see the way my old man’s been…”.  Seeing how his behaviour had devastated his father really brought home to him the seriousness of what he’d done. 

If you’re asked to collude in something ‘dodgy’ or asked to keep quiet about something wrong that you’ve noticed, take a moment to think about how the people you love would feel if they knew you’d agreed to the request.

To watch the video and find out about the other two ‘test’ questions you can ask yourself once you’ve bought yourself some thinking time, click here.

'What To Say When You Encounter an Ethical Breach' is just one of dozens of short, practical videos in the Scott Bradbury ‘WATCH & GO’ library.

About WATCH & GO® videos

WATCH & GO® videos show people how to perform better at work by illustrating practical phrases and key behaviours in just a few minutes. There are around 60 titles, each dealing with a different management topic or ‘tricky’ situation. Learners simply ‘watch’ and ‘go’ to manage everyday situations at work.

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You won't say anything, will you?

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