Submitted by: Rebekah Magin, Faculty, Sanctuary Institute
The other day my husband was scheduled to attend a meeting. His boss forgot to tell him the location was changed so at the last minute he had to drive across town, find parking, and run through the state capital buildings to arrive two minutes late to the meeting (which hadn’t even started yet). After the meeting, my husband, his boss and a colleague were riding the elevator together discussing the meeting and next steps. Without saying anything, the boss reaches over to my husband, removes his sunglasses, which were hanging out of his suit pocket, opens my husband’s suit jacket and places the sunglasses in the inside pocket and pats him on the chest while giving him a disapproving nod. My husband was so taken aback he said nothing.
Later, my husband was relaying the situation to me and having difficulty finding the words to describe what had happened. Finally he says, “It was violent”. I couldn’t have agreed more. My husband felt undermined, embarrassed, angry, violated, and condescended to. What I learned later was that my husband’s boss was found to be wrong about something that my husband had advised him on and so seemingly needed a way to put things right again.
Often people scoff at the Sanctuary 7 Commitments and think of them as fluffy and touchy-feely with no place in a professional environment. Sometimes it is not until you experience a breach in this value system that you realize the necessity of a core set of professional values. The most successful business people in the world will tell you that it is not their academic prowess or formal education that has the biggest impact on their success. It is their commitment to creating safety around them and their commitment to emotional intelligence.
Now, being married to a social worker and Sanctuary Faculty member, my husband is faced with the question, “What do I do about it?” I have encouraged him to practice open communication and discuss the incident during his next supervision meeting expressing his perspective in the same words he did when relaying the incident to me. Coming from the corporate business world which does not adhere to the Sanctuary Model, he is a little apprehensive about how this may be received, but you must be the change you wish to see in the world.
What would you do?