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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds I’ve known Greg for the last three years. We came across together during the buyout, but we’re not, exactly, close friends or anything. He joined the firm about six months ago. I thought he was a good boss– at first. Greg’s the best. These past six months working for him, I’ve never been happier. I couldn’t ask for anything more in a team leader. He can be pretty ruthless at times, but he’s a good boss. Our team does well. Greg– is hilarious, one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met. Pretty serious– he can’t laugh at himself. Super successful, knows his stuff– we wouldn’t have these clients if he wasn’t running the show.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second It was a Friday, and we were finalising a pitch for a proposal on Monday. Elliott arrives late– would have been about 20 minutes late. Greg was really pissed off– he hates people being late. So, Greg says– how did you miss this? Elliott was flustered, did know what to say, made some excuses. Greg cuts him off and says– not good enough, mate. But it wasn’t only about lateness for the meeting. Elliott was in charge of the budget, but Greg had clearly checked the numbers, and Elliott had messed up. Greg confronted him. It got really nasty. He stood up. He put his hands on the desk like this and said– you better fix this or you’re dead, mate.

Skip to 1 minute and 52 seconds Elliott just kind of apologised, so Greg says to him– you better fix this, otherwise, we’re dead, mate. Then Greg says you better fix this– or you’re dead, mate.

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 seconds Are you sure that’s what he said? He definitely said– you’re dead, mate. Nah, he said– you better fix this, otherwise, we’re dead, mate. That’s Greg, he tells it like it is. So when was last time you saw Elliott? It would’ve been Monday afternoon, when Craig and Elliott came back after the pitch meeting. How were they behaving? Well, it clearly didn’t go well. What made you think that? There was no excitement, no handshakes, or high fives, which is usually what happens when someone wins a bid. Greg did not look happy. Greg was angry, Elliott was angry, we were all angry. Elliott was really upset, depressed even. I was worried about him. But Greg, he was seriously angry.

Skip to 3 minutes and 0 seconds We headed out at the same time together. We didn’t speak. I though he was heading out to lunch. That was the last time I saw him. So the next day, when Elliott didn’t turn up, was this unusual? Yeah, a bit. But if I had stuffed up a client like that, I wouldn’t dare show my face around the office for a day, maybe two.

Skip to 3 minutes and 25 seconds Elliott– maybe, he couldn’t handle the pressure.

Skip to 3 minutes and 32 seconds Last couple of weeks, he seemed like he’d taken his eye off the ball a little bit. Something was clearly wrong with him before the pitch. So the next day, we had a team meeting to discuss another client pitch. Everyone was there but not Elliott. So what was Greg like at the meeting? His typical self– asshole. Oh, sorry, can I say that? He was fine, to the point, direct. Look, some people want hugs and pats on the back and all that lovey-dovey bullshit, but Greg doesn’t have time for that. Our team has a multi-million dollar portfolio and its his arse on the line. The meeting was fine. Greg was a little distant. He usually bounces back pretty quickly.

Skip to 4 minutes and 21 seconds I guess looking back on it– something else must have happened. I know what it is that you’re asking– and the answer is no, Greg had nothing to do with Elliott’s death. Look, his career is everything to him. It’s his identity, so losing one of our major clients shatters his professional reputation. It’s a massive blow to his ego. And Greg has a temper. Given those circumstances, I wouldn’t put anything beyond him. In our business, you have to be a little cold and detached and, like I said, even ruthless. But that doesn’t make him a– Jesus, I can’t even say it.

Skip to 5 minutes and 9 seconds But if you’re asking me if Elliott didn’t commit suicide, then I guess, it’s possible that Greg might somehow be involved.

Skip to 5 minutes and 22 seconds How well do you really know the people you work with?

Skip to 5 minutes and 38 seconds So what do you think? I don’t know. Someone isn’t telling the truth. Nah, they’re all telling the truth.

Case study: who's telling the truth?

When three work colleagues have three different views of the same situation, how do you know who to believe?

We all have a unique set of characteristics, whether they’re biological or biographical, that influence how we interpret information, the meaning we make from events (including our own and others’ behaviour), and the attributions we ascribe to various things that happen in the workplace.

In this murder mystery video, we can see all of these individual factors in play, especially in terms of how we perceive the actions and behaviours of our leaders.

Your task

Watch the video and, as you go, take note of the subtle differences in each character’s recollections of the situation leading up to Elliot’s death.

  • What are the facts of the case?
  • Who do you believe the most and why?
  • What does this story tell you about the role of perception in relation to individual differences and leadership?

Join the discussion to reflect on your own perceptions regarding this scenario and debate how ‘truth’ in this fictional case study may be.

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