When under the gun, employees often face pressure to perform quickly and efficiently, but that isn’t always how it goes. Let’s turn to the USA Today article Asiana to sue S.F. TV Station over bogus pilot names as an example. Following the tragic crash of Asiana Flight 214, KTVU News-station reported the names of the pilots on board. Unfortunately, the names they reported were incorrect, racially offensive and had carelessly pulled from the internet by an intern. Clearly, the fact-checking system broke down, and the intern has now been fired. The company is now not only facing a loss of credibility, but also loss of lots of Dinero.
But fact checking goes beyond the role of a reporter. Fact checking is a common denominator among all organizational roles; it just looks different from position to position. The Graphic Designer is held accountable for being sure appropriated images aren’t under copyright. Accountants must stay up to date on practices. Imagine the consequences, if as a leader or manager, you altered an employee’s performance review based on a friend’s account of that employee at the gym, rather than researching to verify the facts. Each role relies on the other to strengthen and represent their part of the corporate puzzle. But why is it that often times fact checking goes awry?
Why might you be tempted to take shortcuts?
Are you an Overwhelmed Employee?
Be it a new and inexperienced individual who’s struggling to take on a new position, or the experienced veteran under pressure to be a top performer, all professionals balance heavy plates. When not provided with leadership guidance or training options, you can become overwhelmed and stressed. Without the tools to balance it all, you may be half performing. None of us are strangers to stress, however sometimes individual’s needs differ and based on their individual circumstances and demands, they may need help finding balance.
Is Social Influence a factor?
As discussed in articles such as Today’s Workforce– Pressed and Stressed, job duties have increased for everyone as a result of economical changes. Struggling employees sometimes see their co-workers managing it all. But this is only the picture from the outside. In organizations that are especially designed to be competitive, and passive-aggressive, employees don’t find it helpful to discuss their effective habits. Professionals who are more transparent, and may be new to the culture can easily be tempted to cut corners in order to keep up with the pack. And in the process, it seems, every week, they fall farther behind while their peers excel.
Lack of Motivation holding you back?
Unfortunately, handling professional lives can be tough at times. Various factors can negatively impact motivation such as low self-esteem, poor work life balance, dysfunctional teams, poor leadership and more. Another highly impactful motivational element is Exchange Ideology. In 1998, Robert Eisenberger wrote in the Journal of Applied Psychology that Exchange Ideology refers to an employees’ belief that it is appropriate to base their work effort on how favorably they have been treated by their organizations. In essence, if you aren’t treated with the Golden Rule standard, you are likelier to take detrimental shortcuts because you don’t care about the company.
Like the intern who pulled the bogus names, we are all responsible for fact-checking, regardless of obstacles which hold us back. The key in progress is to evaluate which of the above factors is causing us to take potentially harmful shortcuts and fix the issue. Or it may be you know a co-worker struggling with this pitfall who needs to evaluate their situation. The great news is that whatever is holding a fact-checker back, clarity can get to the root of the problem.