Should I go along to get along?

Q:  I attended a client event with my boss and was taken aback by the over-the-top antics.  I thought—is this really happening? When we returned, my boss said, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”  I thought—Vegas, no! The Godfather movie, yes. What should I do?

A:  Some might recommend that you go along to get along, or chalk up this client event to experience. If the behavior was consistent with your moral compass, you might be able to follow this path.  However, it seems that this situation set off two alarms for you:  the “antics” at the event, and your manager’s request to remain silent about them.

  • Were the actions or behavior unethical? Contrary to your corporate policy?  If yes, you  are obligated to act based on the employee agreement you signed when you joined the firm.
  • Did you witness sexual harassment? Bullying? Racial or ethnic slurs? If yes, you have a responsibility to act based on your organization’s values and people management policies.
  • Was the behavior merely careless, clueless, juvenile? If so, can you avoid participating in future, but “leave it in Vegas”?
  • Do you think that this was a one-off situation or is it a pattern of behavior?

Now, consider the relationship that you have with your manager, because your actions in this regard will be shaped more by your values and integrity than by organizational guidelines:

  • Is the relationship close, friendly and informal, or distant, aloof and formal (old school)?
  • If it’s friendly, have you ignored or overlooked previous off-color remarks or behavior by your manager in the office? That is, have you gone along to get along in the past?
  • Is it possible that your manager thinks that you would OK with the “antics”?

Finally, the answer to these questions might be difficult to own up to especially if the answer is yes, it might be the result of the decision that you made:  “going along to get along.”

As for me, going along is not the way that I “roll”.

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