Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So You Think You Have Ethics . . .

Well? Do you? You probably think you do. We all do. Most leaders do know the difference between right and wrong, but a lot of them talk it more than they walk it. Some just don’t care.

As a supervisor, you’re a leader and you’re expected to set an example for your staff – and other leaders. You’re in a position that you’re being constantly watched. When others see you behaving unethically, you’re sending a loud message to your co-workers that ethics doesn’t matter to you. And guess what. It won’t matter to them either.

If you don’t exhibit the following personal qualities and behaviors, you have some work to do:

  • Honesty

  • Integrity

  • Impartiality

  • Fairness

  • Loyalty

  • Dedication

  • Responsiblity

  • Accountablity
Most organizations have a written company code of ethics policy. Have you ever read it? The "code" should be able to convey to others that you value ethical behavior and that it guides the way you and your employees do business. But it’s not worth squat unless it’s shared (discussed) with your employees more than in their first day of work, as is usually the case. I’ve seen a number of organizations pass off ethics “training” as giving employees a piece of paper to sign once a year. Really? That is NOT enough. How many people do you think really read it?

According to Trainingscape, there are six keys to making better ethical choices:
E – Evaluate circumstances through the appropriate filters
(culture, policies, laws, relationships, etc) .
T – Treat people and issues fairly within the established boundaries. Fair doesn’t always mean equal.
H – Hesitate before making critical decisions.
I – Inform those affected of the standard/decision that has been set/made.
C – Create an environment of consistency for yourself and your working group.
S – Seek counsel when you have any doubt
(but from those who are honest and who you respect).

You may have a Code of Ethics, but if you don’t live it from day to day, what’s the use?

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