What would your reaction be to working alongside someone who has publicly displayed a major flaw in character? What if this has occurred in the most recent past, but this person was being given another opportunity? Could you remove yourself from that person’s errors in judgment and work alongside of them and not be critical?
Kathleen Parker, a columnist with the Washington Post, was given the opportunity to host a prime-time cable television news program. One catch – she would be co-anchoring with former governor Eliot Spitzer, former governor and attorney general of New York, a “disgraced” politician who resigned after it was revealed that he had been carrying on surreptitiously with prostitutes.
Parker suggested in this quote her feelings about working alongside of Spitzer:
“I’m not defending Spitzer or condoning his behavior. Ultimately, I decided that his obvious intelligence, insights and potential contributions outweighed his other record. As far as I’m concerned, especially given that he has resigned from public office, the flaws that brought Spitzer down are between him and his family. Like most Americans, I believe in redemption.”
In previous research by this author, a survey was conducted of a group of business professionals with clearly stated faith-based values. The focus was on gauging the impact of a manager’s faith and its influence on managerial decision-making, investigating particularly whether the influence of a religious faith which has a redemptive philosophy at its core would influence the possibility of a manager offering ‘second chance’ opportunities to employees with past or present display of terminal behavior. It was thought that if any managers might consider implementing such practices it would be those managers who have publicly declared that their faith unequivocally guides their decision-making. Yet these managers have not seen the fruit for their efforts with restorative ‘second chance’ initiatives.
The data results suggested that because a manager’s faith guides their decision-making it does not necessarily mean that a manager feels compelled to offer second chance opportunities to their employees. The expression of the manager’s faith in guiding their decision-making could be evidenced in other areas in which the manager is more comfortable expressing their faith.
Many of these managers surveyed are strongly active in faith activities, and a logical assumption would be that the same motivation to demonstrate their faith would carry over into the workplace, particularly among entrepreneurs and owner/operators who could have more of an impact on day-to-day activities and policies. In the case of providing for some mechanism such as a Last Chance Agreement in the organization’s discipline policy that provides a “second chance” opportunity instead of firing an employee for terminal offences, the response was positive in favor, correlated to the compelling desire to pursue this strategy. This desire to offer “second chance” opportunities seem to break down when it comes to the hiring of former drug addicts and criminals. This is not an activity that is being pursued in these managers’ organizations, nor are these managers seeing this activity if practiced as an effective strategy for their organization. Many sidebar comments in the research indicated that although the premise of following this path of redemptive leadership is a reflection of their faith commitment, many were skeptical of the practices working.
Do all Americans really believe in redemption? How about those for whom redemption is an ever-present reality? And because redemption has occurred in my life of faith, does this necessarily mean this need be a strategy for hiring employees into my organization? One set of faith-based managers said no. But not the bosses at CNN.
See the Parker article here – http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/kathleen-parker-on-new-co-anchor-eliot-spitzer-i-believe-in-redemption_b24077.