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‘Acceptance is the Price of Freedom’

Success as a Leader Follows Acceptance to Labor & Employment Laws

Written by Christopher A, Pizzi, CFM, MSFM, MJ-LEL Capstonian

When I was growing up, I had a hard time letting things go. My parents used to tell me that “acceptance is the price of freedom”. I was never really sure what they meant by that phrase. As I have gotten older, I have come to understand what they meant. - If I accept something for what it is, only then will I be able to progress forward with success. - It did not mean that I need to like the way it is, I just need to accept it.

Let's go back to 4th grade: If another other 4th grade class was going on a field trip to the state zoo and my 4th grade class was going on a field trip to the museum. I want to go to the zoo, not the museum. In this scenario, there is nothing I could do about it - decision was made, I am going to the museum, move on, accept it. If I accept this, I can move on with my 4th grade life and plan to have fun at the museum, if I don't accept this, I will not enjoy my field trip to the museum, and fester about it.

This is the same for labor and employment Law. The labor and employment laws today are highly protective of the employee. As a leader in an organization, you may not like the way this works, but I need to accept it. If a leader can accept the way labor and employment laws are legally set up, only then will they become successful at managing and leading people moving forward.

Federal laws including but not limited to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and jurisdictional laws such as the Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave (PMFL) program are highly protective of the employees’ rights. In some cases, the leaders and managers of today are still not accepting the current laws, such as leave laws and other employee protections. They do not want to accept them for what they are. These leaders are:

  • either stuck in the past,

  • don’t understand labor & employment laws fully, or

  • prioritize the organizational agenda over the employees

Leaders working in a highly unionized environment, where the bargaining agreement favors the employee, need to understand that they cannot skirt around contract terms, believing it will benefit the company operations or themselves as leaders, it will only make matters worse. Bad culture, grievances, high costs of doing business and union animus will ensue. These managers do not need to like the terms of these agreements and labor laws but need to understand them and ultimately 'accept' them. Only then will they become ‘free’ and be able to rationalize better results and progress for the organization moving forward.

Another example is the Massachusetts leave laws including PFML and FMLA. These laws are very complicated and bring forth administrative challenges. Front line managers are more and more needing to be experts in employment laws and human resource functions. Oftentimes, these managers just simply avoid the effort to understand these laws and avoid applying them in daily practice. Because they approach employment laws it this way, these managers, get backlogged with employment issues, loss of morale, and legal struggles related to these items. These managers need to accept the employee protection laws and begin to work with them instead of against them.

Otherwise, they will find themselves struggling to succeed.

Ultimately, if employers and the front-line leaders start to accept and understand the laws protecting the employee - only then will they begin to understand how to plan and strategize for the organization to be more successful. If leaders and managers pretend these laws and concepts do not exist, their effectiveness as a leader and/or manager will be negatively impacted.

"If it weren't for the people" © 2022 by Christopher A. Pizzi is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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Teryl Booth
Teryl Booth
Jan 11, 2023

So well said, and so well written!! Bravo!

Jan 11, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Teryl

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