ETHICS (a branch of philosophy )
— distinguishes between right & wrong actions
— establishes the rules & standards that govern the moral behavior of individuals & groups
— involves honest thought to & admission of underlying motives of actions
— identifies potential harm & agreement with established values & rules
MORALS are agreed upon judgments & rules of good conduct in society, identifying permissible / acceptable behavior which express basic values. Business ethics deals with the creation & application of moral standards in the business environment.
Values are professed statements of one’s beliefs, Ethics is delivering on one’s professed values, & morals are actions of good conduct as judged by the society that enhance the welfare of all human beings.
CULTIVATING MORAL POWER – for executives / managers….. (& everyone)
Influencing others without corrupting our own values lies in self-awareness. Those who strive for it will regularly talk to friends or a trusted counselor, take time for journaling, quiet reflection & prayer, reading ‘growth’ literature….. looking deeper into their own motivations which drive their actions.
Ethical Awareness Exercises
🛎 Use these 3 statements as a baseline / mental checklist – to help you make ethical choices by evaluating your motivations when making work decisions
1. At work I desire… (choose all that apply)
— advancement, increased compensation
— collaboration, companionship, friendship
— influence, control, stability, independence
— respect, public recognition, status …. (add)
2. At work I fear… (choose all that apply)
— the ambitions of others, being shown up, competition
— being the last to know important news, being deceived
— being seen as incompetent, not being liked, not being respected
— losing my job, instability, the power of others, lack of control
— making a mistake, getting caught, asking for help (add)
3. My most important values at work are…
Honesty, Integrity, Creativity
Success, Respect, Loyalty
Trust, Kindness, Helpfulness… (add)
From each the above 3 categories, choose your top 2 interests, & write about how they show up in your work life
1 & 2 describe ways you may unconsciously influence others, & how others may be influencing you, & the 3rd are core working values.
EXP – by category:
1. At work I desire respect & stability ….
2. At work I fear losing my job & getting caught making a mistake ….
3. My most important values at work are honesty and respect…..
🔎 List situations where / how / when your most common fears & desires (# 1 & 2) affected your behavior & interactions. Identify what was motivating them (negative thoughts / unfulfilled needs, projections…),
then compare them to your core values (#3). What were the positive and/or negative outcome of each action / event?
Situation: I made a minor mistake on a team report, but convinced myself & my boss it was the fault of a junior team member.
Fear: making mistakes
Negative impetus: dishonesty & disrespect
Comparison: My fear of making mistakes & looking bad pushed me to go against my core working values & instead – I used my senior status to blame someone else for my mistake.
Outcome: While I didn’t have to admit to my boss that I’d made a mistake, I damaged the possibility of having a positive relationship with the junior coworker, & provided him / her with an example of unethical behavior in senior employees.
• ALTERNATIVE : Imagine a way you could have dealt with the situation without violating your core working values. What might have been the outcome?
Outcome: I would have built personal credibility & trust through integrity.Also, I would have set a positive example for the junior team member, possibly increasing his / her loyalty, & creating the opportunity to provide mentorship.
REMINDER : Keep in mind that everyone acts unconsciously sometimes. Ethical growth is only possible when we consistently can take an “fearless”, non-judgmental look at our behavior, to gradually learn from our mistakes.
NEXT: Corp. Culture Types #1