“No matter how flat you make a pancake, it still has two sides.”
– Dr. Phil McGraw, Psychologist
A conflict in the workplace can be difficult enough to solve when there are only two parties involved, but the situation gets much more complicated when outside parties start having influence.
This can be seen in the recent harassment scandal concerning two teammates on the Miami Dolphins team. Jonathan Martin came out telling his side of the story, and the media ran with it, causing the Miami Dolphins to take immediate action. Before the end of the day, Richie Incognito was a villain to the whole nation. When Incognito finally spoke up about the situation, a different side of the story could be seen, but the damage had already been done.
This isn’t a pass for any of the parties involved. The alleged actions are still disgusting and deplorable. However, there is a lesson for your organization to learn as the story continues to unfold.
- When problems arise in your organization, take a step back and listen to both sides of the story.
You’d think it’d be a no-brainer, but a lot of people feel pressure to take action immediately once the incident gains attention by the media or the public. These third parties want actions and reprimands—and they want it now. And that burden may make it difficult for those in charge to make a just decision. Speaking of fairness…
- Make sure everything is being conducted fairly.
If it’s protocol to place the alleged offender on leave while an investigation is being handled, do so. Don’t feel the need to cut corners and skip steps because you want to hurry up and reach a conclusion.
- While the situation is being investigated, don’t give out too many details to outsiders.
You’re still examining the situation, so you don’t have many facts on the case anyways. Get familiar with the phrase, “We can’t release any further details on this case as it is still being investigated.” It won’t be what third parties want to hear, but you also don’t want to give any information where others can jump to their own conclusions.
When trouble rocks your organization, it’s better to stick to your guns when so many different opinions are coming from every way, rather than jumping the gun and making a bad conclusion because you succumbed to outside pressure.