Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Can Individuals hold values which are contrary to their employer's view?

Increasingly, the gap between the values of employees and employers is growing larger. Managers will either use weapons to beat their employees into submission while leaders will find ways to create win/win situations...

There are situations where the ‘beliefs/values’ of individuals are in conflict with those of the business enterprise to the extent that they cause business problems.

For example, imagine a retail pharmacy chain where some individual pharmacists ‘right to life’ beliefs/values causes them to refuse to sell prescription birth control medication. From a business standpoint this is unacceptable. In this sort of situation it would not be appropriate to attempt to ‘realign’ the values of the individuals. Management would need to find some other solution.

A manager could make a bad decision out of ignorance, threatening to fire the employee or they could step up to leadership thinking and figure out a few alternatives. One potential solution may be to staff the pharmacy with two pharmacists (provided the workload supports it) and ensure that non-offensive work gets routed appropriately. Another solution may be to encourage the customers that use birth control to purchase it via mail order. The customer gains convenience while the pharmacists remains productive in his/her discipline and it becomes a win all the way around.

Leadership is a game of thinking where you are always looking for a better way to make your employees (followers) happy. If you are simply attempting to make them conform, you have lowered yourself to a manager...

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