Do you think it is a good idea to always tell the truth? Yes
Is there a difference between being a “team player” and a Whistleblower? A team player is an individual who communicates well within the group, is reliable, is an active participant, flexible, listens, and provides input to the team. It is important for an individual to have their own allow their deep beliefs and values to always play a part in decisions, whether personal or business. Being a team player is working with other people to accomplish a common goal, as long as that goal is on the up and up. If that goal is against the law or against your beliefs or values, then you might not belong on that team, and it might be time to be the whistleblower.
When might the two be one in the same? If several people all with the same values agree that something is not being done correctly and needs to be reported.
When would you consider stepping up and confronting a boss who is demonstrating unethical conduct? This is going to depend on the situation. I have been in this situation a couple of different times over the past several years. Once, one of the team leads (a position just under the supervisor) was making derogatory comments and motions towards a co-worker who sat in the cubicle next to her, with regards to the individuals body odor. Several of my other co-workers and myself did not smell the offensive odor as frequently or as strongly as the team lead, so when we were asked about it, we would honestly state that we did not always smell it. This continued to escalate to the point of harassment. Then one morning she came in and indicated she had made some phone calls. Another co-worker and myself felt this was escalating to a point of becoming dangerous to the company (for a lawsuit) and for the co-worker who this was being directed to, not to mention very unprofessional of the team lead, who should have been setting an example to others around her. The situation was able to be resolved before too much more headache, heartache, or hurt feelings were to be had, and the team lead was provided with some additional training, the co-worker was pulled into meet with human resources and provided with some assistance for personal issues she was having, and in the end it all had positive consequences.
The second situation I was exposed to confronting a boss when illegal conduct was continuing to take place, I had been the traffic supervisor, logistic manager for a chemical company that manufactured and shipped hazardous and non-hazardous materials. For over three years I was learning a lot about hazardous materials, having previously always worked in the perishable meat shipping industry. Once I had figured it all out and been through years of training, found that there was a major flaw in our computer system where products were not being shipped and marked appropriately. I brought this to the attention of my manager at the time, who resigned within two months of us beginning to work on correcting the situation. The individual they brought in as a replacement had no transportation experience and no hazardous experience at all. I tried for over a year to explain the risks and problems we had with the shipping and the manifests and the risks of fines. He did not want to work on it, and kept brushing it under the carpet. One afternoon, he told me to get the product out the door regardless of how it was marked. I told him it would take 6 hours to get it marked and ready to ship due to the system errors and the system being broke. The consequence was he fired me for refusing to ship the shipment right then, illegally. So sometimes being a whistleblower can have a positive consequence and sometimes it can be negative. For me, yes I lost my job, but I am not wearing an orange suit, or stripes and paying a huge fine, nor do I have on my conscience the death of anyone due to a hazmat spill from a shipment hitting the road under my supervision.