Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Stand Up to Injustice

A friend in another field has been telling me his story of injustice over a number of years now. I have been listening to what clearly has been an unjust work situation. He has been collecting evidence and utilizing helpful resources to his advantage. The case clearly demonstrates that sometimes injustice occurs in the workplace. What makes this most disconcerting is that my friend has been sticking up for what is right and good while the authorities in his workplace have been trying to replace good work with more superficial efforts.

As I think on his situation and other similar situations I've heard of or experienced, I am struck by how these unjust situations start. In this individual's case, the office was running well and a new individual came in and clearly tried to get rid of all existing staff since she targeted one after another in inhuman, unkind, and unprofessional ways. The new manager also was clearly trying to gain kudos for modernizing the office by focusing on new technology, however her focus on the technology alone negated the rich and important mission of the workplace thus giving power to the superficial efforts while ignoring the reason the workplace exists in the first place--a valuable service to people.

If the new individual had arrived with a clear mission of working with the existing staff to tie new technology to the deep mission of the office, she could have truly risen both amongst her staff in the office as well as in the eyes of her leadership team. Instead, her tenure has been marked by one problem after another, and she must clearly be seen as both a nuisance and one without commitment to the deep work of the field--work that makes a difference for individuals, communities, and society.

When injustice occurs in the workplace, it typically occurs because one or many let ambition trump mission. I always say that it's okay for ambition to feed mission, but it's not okay to let ambition trump mission. In any work place, and particularly in workplaces that serve humanity, it is essential that the mission stay at the center of everyone's work, and it is also essential that people in the organization, both new and veteran, work together to identify what that mission is and how to continually promote the mission in forward-thinking, modern, rich, deep, and meaningful ways.

Yet, injustice will occur, and some will enter the workplace with their own ambition or perhaps a lack of understanding or experience as their leading force thus letting people down and creating havoc. When this happens, people for whom the mission remains the focus, have to speak up and work together to right the organization in ways that matter. With as much respect, dignity, knowledge, and truth, the just have to speak up with questions and information to put the organization back on the right path. In the best of circumstances, this synergy will occur with new and old coming together to chart an elevated mission path, but that doesn't always occur.

Injustice is occurring at our national level right now. Our President is not acting presidential, instead he tends to label everything good or bad and big or small--he seems to take no time to truly look deeply at issues and think about the American people, our place in the global society, and how we can elevate and move our country forward. Not every one of his ideas are bad, but almost all of the ways he works are disrespectful and frightening. He is not acting in just, humane, and dignified ways, and this is very troubling. His actions call Americans who are devoted to our democracy and to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for all Americans to speak up and share what they know and believe in order to put us on a good, righteous, path for living well in a global society.

In the face of injustice, people have to find allies and speak up for what is right and good. My friend has to endure suffering as he speaks up and supports the mission of his field and work at this time. His manager will have to face the fact that she lost sight of the mission of her work, and it's likely she lost sight because she didn't speak up way back when her own bosses were leading her astray (there is a long history to this case). We will retain the strength of our commitments and the work possible if we are courageous enough to speak up and work together in the face of injustice--the more we stand for what is right and good together, the better we will server one another. This is one of the most important aspects of living and being human.