Fight or Flight ~ Coaching 4 Health & Wellness

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fight or Flight

A friend of mine, who is a medical professional, is in a dilemma. She discovered a practice that many of her coworkers were doing, with the blessing of some supervisors, was bordering on illegal. A misdemeanor, but still legally damaging to the medical licenses and certainly a potential liability for the company. None of it was done maliciously, there was just misunderstanding of how situations should be reported. Some people thought one way, others a different way. One way was correct, one was not.

My friend certainly didn't see herself as a whistle blower, she simply (or so she thought) brought the situation to the supervisor on duty. This supervisor was one who thought incorrectly about the policy. My friend suggested that the supervisors "get on the same page", so that practitioners, like herself, could be consistent in applying the practice and be in compliance with the law.

The situation my friend was discussing with the supervisor had many dimensions to it, so it ended up being a bigger deal than expected. However, something unexpected happened. My friend's supervisor had a sit down with her and told her she should "watch how you interact" with other people and you shouldn't "tell the supervisors they need to get their act together". Her supervisor went so far as to hint that if she were wanting to advance in the company, she would need the backing of said supervisors, they have great influence with the hiring manager, so she needs to be aware of "your impact on others".

She felt this to be a veiled threat...shape up, go along with us...if you don't behave, we will not promote you (or discourage your advancement)....even when potential illegal activity occurs.

So what to do? Fight the system? The practice she brought to light is being changed to comply with the law, so that's good. Does she have anything to apologize for? Should she confront her supervisor about the veiled threat. What she seems most concerned about is that her supervisor is generally very good and this seems out of character for her.

Does she "comply" and mold to their expectations in order to advance within the company or does she stand up and say this is wrong. In whistle blower situations this is what happens...the whistle blowers are told to keep quiet, don't make a stir, just go along with the wrong situation. Brave people who stand up to the corporations at times have saved lives and have actually saved the company money in potential lawsuits, yet, they are threatened with loss of job, loss of advancement, or worse.

There comes a point where you have to say, "this is wrong" and let the chips land where the may. Its wrong to implement this practice illegally, it is wrong to threaten someone with loss of advancement if he/she doesn't tone it down.

How do you respond?

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