Ethics should be a way of life – not a conscious decision made on a case by case basis. As a newer manager you may have trouble determining what is standard proceedure versus what procedures are ethical. If you exercise just a bit of self discipline you will find that every decision you make is the most ethical possible.
So how do you develop that type of self discipline?
Your organisation probably has an entire manual outlining company rules, regulations, policies, and operating proceedures. You don’t have to memorise them all from the start but you should make it a point to understand how things work and what the rules are before making any decisions. If you check the rules you won’t make an unethical mistake.
Take responsibility for your actions, behaviour, and – of course- for your mistakes. Trying to cover up your mistakes or blaming them on someone else will only make the situation worse when, in reality, upper management only wants to hear someone say they’re sorry and that they’ll fix the problems.
Are you someone who usually stretches the truth when its convenient? Are you the type of person who can easily come up with a creative interpretation of any rule in order to justify his behaviour? If so, STOP. There’s no such thing as semi-ethical. You either are or you aren’t.
If you say you’ll finish something within a specified time frame, do so. Keep the promises you make, finish your tasks in their entirety, and set a great example for your team. The art of dependability seems to be lost these days but the most dependable people are usually the most ethical and honest.
Just because you are attempting to be an ethical manager doesn’t mean your peers on the same level of management are attempting to do the same things. Don’t let the things they do influence you and try to avoid or minimize ethical conflicts. Know your priniciples and stick to them.
As a manager you’re going to find yourself in a position where you are required to regularly make decision. While you may, at times, feel as though you are guided by your own morals and beliefs it is very important for you to remember to put your personal beliefs aside so that you can look at each situation objectively and make the most ethical decisions possible.
In order to do this there are four main principles of ethical management you need to keep in mind at all times. They are as follows:
Are you acting as ethically as possible in the workplace? Are there things you could change so that you and your team get along on a better, professional level? Think about it.