A Case Study on Leader Integrity
Steve walked into his boss Reed’s office at precisely . For the past year and a half Steve had reported to Reed within the technology department of a major manufacturing firm. Steve liked Reed; he was detail oriented, thoughtful but got things done and always gave good advice. As a new supervisor Steve looked at Reed as an unofficial mentor. Someone who could teach him the organizational ropes and hopefully how to navigate the frustrating organizational politics that seemed to be ever present.
This meeting should have been no different than any other. Steve would walk though his bullet point list of performance metrics, people issues and projects. His team was doing well hitting their performance targets and things seemed to be getting better. They got through most of the agenda easily after 20 minutes they began to talk about projects. Steve had an idea for a new piece of equipment that would significantly increase the quality of output from his team. The price was steep but Steve was sure this was the right decision for the department and the company. Unfortunately Reed after a month of discussions was still skeptical.
Reed asked Steve to line out the justification again paying attention to the impact on departmental financials as well as installation and manpower requirements. Knowing how these conversations had gone in the past and realizing they had only seven minutes remaining, Steve asked; “Reed I would be happy to walk you through that portion of the justification but I am concerned that we will run over on our 30 minute time slot. Do you want me to book another time to discuss this or should we run over on the meeting by 10 minutes or so?”
Reed responded “No lets go ahead now, our GM was asking me about this yesterday and when he gets back I want to be ready to field his questions.” So they continued, Steve walked Reed through the justification fielding all of Reeds questions along the way. When they concluded it was 15 minutes after their normal meeting time. As Reed thanked Steve for the update, Steve got up to leave. As he was heading out the office door he heard,
“Ah Crap! Hey Steve I forgot I have a biweekly communication meeting up on the seventh floor. You know the one you have covered for me in the past? Yeah Old man Smith (VP Technology) is a stickler for punctuality too. Hey can you go up there for me sit in and tell them that you were running late and we started our meeting late and that because of this I could not attend?”
So your boss just asked you to lie on his behalf?
What will you do?
What considerations are there?
What potential consequences does your decision risk?