Setting the Standard

A woman I know–I’ll call her ‘T’–was part of a group playing an early morning ‘gig’ with a military band. Her first sergeant in charge, whom I shall call Elvis, was telling dirty jokes. T didn’t think it was appropriate. When they got back to the band room, T asked to speak with Elvis. You have to understand T was very shy, so she rarely spoke up to others. But this morning was different. She was teed off (very upset)! She told the sergeant, in no uncertain terms, that his behavior was inappropriate, especially with females present. Since he was the leader, he should have set the example for the group, and he failed. When finished with her brief tongue lashing, there was absolute silence. Oh man, she had just chewed out a superior in the military. How would he react? Would he get upset and write her up for insubordination? She held her breath. Elvis thought over her challenge to his leadership briefly, looked up and said “You’re right. It won’t happen again.” T was relieved. Not only wouldn’t she get in trouble for questioning him, but he took her criticism to heart. She felt respected and listened to.

Sometimes doing the right thing isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to set the standard and ‘raise the bar’ of expectation. What if she had said nothing? Then both T and Elvis would have set a bad example, him by committing the act and her by omitting the challenge. It’s something to think about.