With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
/ Author: Carla Brink
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With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

The temptation to misuse power will always be there for those who have it, including in our workplaces

By Carla Brink, Representative

I recently saw the latest Spiderman movie, and I thought the positive reviews it has garnered were well deserved.

What especially struck me was that, as Spiderman uses his abilities to protect the city, he is also struggling with his own goals and needs and the temptation to use his power to help himself and those close to him, while also balancing protection of the city with trying to do the right thing and helping some individuals who may be viewed as unworthy of saving.

He has a lot of choices to make and lessons to learn—one of which of course is the oft-quoted “with great power comes great responsibility.”

The temptation to misuse power will always be there for those who have it. We have recently seen so many examples of this in the real world. Governments who seek to gain more power with sometimes obfuscated reasons that are not readily apparent with a “trust us” rational are often hard to accept.

We also see this tendency with employer polices that don’t seem reasonable at face value.

Just as it is citizens’ and government opposition parties’ role to question and seek clarification of a government policy, it is CLAC’s responsibility to do the same in the workplaces that we represent.

For example, when an employer introduces a new policy, we look at the rationale, the goals, and the circumstances to see if it is reasonable, attainable, and if it does not infringe on employee rights under the collective agreement or other relevant legislation. We also ask if it actually solves the issue that it claims to or if it proports to do one thing while actually doing another—whether intended or unintended.

We also encourage employers to use open and honest communication that respects their employees. Too many rules and regulations can be counterproductive, and giving employees choices and autonomy in their jobs more often results in a better workplace environment overall.

Conflict and differences of opinion will always be something we encounter. In most cases, an attempt to find common-ground solutions while showing respect to our adversaries will result in better outcomes than simply digging in to predetermined positions.

I think, like Spiderman, we can learn to be responsible with the power we have and attempt to admit and fix our mistakes with humility and resilience—and hopefully persuade others to do the same.

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