1. I think what’s going on here is something that a lot of companies have been dealing with this past decade more than ever. The company is traditional and values “normalness” and the employee thinks that sexual orientation isn’t as important anymore and wants to let his boss know of his intentions on bringing his partner to the social gathering the company has to give out awards. Adam is particularly concerned with the effect this new information will have on his career. He tries to assure George that he is doing the same thing as everyone else.
George, however, is focused solely on the effect this will have on the business. But it may seem that he is using that excuse to mask the fact that he really isn’t comfortable with a gay man in the workplace. 2. If I were George, I would seriously think about the implications that this could have on our business, if any. Of course, there are still people who do not like mixing business with personal matters. I don’t think society is already completely open to gays in the workplace.
However, I would probably suggest to Adam to gain the trust of a client first and if the opportunity comes up to mention that he’s gay, then that’s fine. Although that may seem wrong, it’s a necessary step in order to retain business. This is an external factor, though. This conversation with Adam has created a need to do something organizationally. If we don’t have an inclusion strategy, we should create one. We can start by identifying organizational issues related to LGBT employees to see where on the spectrum we are.
The second step would be to introduce diversity training (including other aspects such as women as well). Finally, we can communicate the policies internally and externally. 3. My preferred strategy would encompass a defensive and offensive strategy in introducing a new type of inclusion policy. On one side, we want to protect our current business and clients (if they all leave because of one employee…that doesn’t make sense). At the same time, I’d like to make sure that a gay employee has the same set of opportunities and challenges that a straight one does.
This simultaneous yet sort of opposing strategy would be the best way to tackle this sort of problem, in my opinion. 4. If I were Adam, I probably wouldn’t want anyone to make a big deal out of it. I don’t want a huge reaction, a huge board meeting. I just want it to be a normal occurrence like the other employees have. I don’t know how old this case is, but it doesn’t seem like it would be as big a problem if this was 20 years ago. 5. Instead of imagining that I was gay, I thought of another aspect of myself that would make me different in some way from my colleagues and put myself in that position.
That way, I could understand better why Adam was saying the things that he did and to see it in the same light. I kept thinking of a way that would allow people to see others as the same, regardless of any dimension. It’s not about agreement with certain choices (one can dislike my religion and think it’s wrong and I can disagree with the idea that being gay is correct). But the goal is to have the same opportunities and experiences, regardless of personal decisions. That’s the goal I was impossibly trying to think of a solution for.