Leadership in Action
A week later, Jonathan and Joab met in the small conference room to discuss the design document.
“How are you today?” Jonathan asked with a smile.
“I’m ... ah ... OK,” Joab responded.
“The design document you sent me looks great,” Jonathan said. “And you were right about the IPM network module. We received an email from the vendor explaining how they will rectify this problem.”
“Thanks,” said Joab with a slight smile. “I’m friends with one of the vendor engineers, and he told me what’s going on.”
“If you don’t mind me asking,” Jonathan said, “what happened on Saul’s project? Why does he blame you for the testing schedule slippage? You seem to be on top of your game, and I’m looking forward to working with you, but I need to make sure we avoid problems like that on this project.”
“I tried to tell Saul about the schedule risk,” Joab said. “I notified him about the risk, expecting him to update the risk register per our policy, but he said I was responsible for coordinating with the customer to convince them to open the facility on the day we scheduled for testing. The customer had another event scheduled for that week, so I escalated the issue to Saul to resolve. I want to be a team player, but they were not going to listen to me—they needed to hear from him.”
“I see,” Jonathan said, nodding in agreement.
“There is ... ah ... something else, too,” Joab said. “Ever since the day Saul saw me leaving my place of worship, he’s treated me differently. I think he does not like me because I’m .”
“It doesn’t matter what religion you are,” Jonathan said, cutting him off. “Or your race, gender, or who you love. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. I’ve learned a lot from Samuel over the past few weeks, and one of the things I’ve learned is that we have to be tolerant of one another. We can’t expect you to be productive if you’re feeling disrespected. The way Saul treated you was wrong, and I’m sorry for misjudging you. I’m sorry for letting how he treated you influence my behavior.”
“Thank you,” Joab said. “You’re not like your father. He never asked me how I felt. He certainly never apologized. He just yells. Samuel is the only one around here who listens.”
“You can talk to me, too.” Jonathan said. “And I have a feeling that Samuel will deal with Saul.”