I appreciate the fact that there are a lot of “grey” areas in life. Not everything is black and white. Sometimes there are mitigating circumstances and/or good reasons why people act they way they do. Everything doesn’t always fits into a neat little box of appropriate behavior; however there are some things that are almost always unacceptable despite the circumstances. There is a reason why all religions are typically based on a foundation of common morality and expected ethical behavior. Whether the leaders of these religions actually they live up to their own principles is another issue altogether.
I often tell my kids that just because you “CAN” do something doesn’t mean you “SHOULD.” This advice is just as applicable for leaders of all types of organizations. Here are a few basic rules of engagement that every leader should consider:
- All people should be treated with dignity and respect;
- You shouldn’t take advantage of other people’s personal vulnerabilities. Manipulation is a slippery ethical slope;
- It is not okay to steal and unfairly take what does not belong to you;
- Cheating is never a virtue, even if you win;
- Honesty shouldn’t be optional. Dishonesty only ever breeds further dishonesty;
- Your products/services should be safe to use;
- You have the obligation to provide a safe and secure work environment for your employees;
- You shouldn’t use your position of authority to frighten or push people into situations they find morally questionable;
- Once someone takes you into their personal confidence, you should respect this fact and be worthy of their trust, not use it against them;
- Professional and personal commitments actually mean something. When you commit to another party you should do your best to honor the agreement.
- Two wrongs will never make a right. Never act out of spite.
We live in a society today where there are a lot of “broken” people and organizations. The evidence is everywhere and borne out by sociological statistics and anecdotal experience. Something just isn’t right (and most of us know it). We often rationalize our behavior through the lens of personal psychology and situational ethics. Spin it however you want, but actions will always have consequences and wrong actions eventually lead to adverse outcomes. A win–lose mindset is rarely advisable in business or your personal life. There is such a thing as right and wrong.
- Situational Ethics (oelwingo.wordpress.com)
- It Only Takes One Thing (otterthink.wordpress.com)
- Making Ethical Decisions Under Pressure (prsay.prsa.org)
- Karmic Justice (madhusameer.wordpress.com)
- Out of the FOG – Top 100 Behaviors & Traits of Individuals who suffer from Personality Disorders (faithandmeow.wordpress.com)
- Two Kinds of Morality… Actually, Just One (thoughtsonx.wordpress.com)
- Ethics for the New Millenium: Modern Society and the Quest for Human Happiness (mytruthsetsmefree.wordpress.com)
- Pojman on Moral Relativism and Objectivism (phl2121.wordpress.com)
- Study posits a theory of moral behavior (esciencenews.com)