How To Manage Ethically

Managers should always set the tone, lead from the front and, very importantly, set an example that staff can follow.

An organisation that clearly, and systematically, communicates what it wants from its staff in terms of outputs and ethics is an organisation that stands a good chance of success – clear rules and guidance set the tone that staff see and can subscribe to.

Three critical questions emerge that shape your individual ethical style:

  • What standards of behaviour are really important to me and my organisation?
  • What specific values do I admire in certain leaders? Do I identify with those values?
  • Would I still live by those values, even if they put me at a competitive disadvantage?

In practical terms this is embodied in the following practical steps:

  1. Set the Tone: create the right feeling for the team by leading from the front whilst establishing consequences for those team members who do not subscribe to the view.
  2. Identify Ethical Dilemmas

There will always be tough choices that have to be dealt with and having a framework for analysing them. Many dilemmas can be recognised through the following techniques:

  • Spot trigger situations: purchasing, recruiting staff, staff dismissal and setting financial rewards are all examples where ethical dilemmas abound.
  • Be prepared, be very well prepared: by thinking ahead and anticipating issues that might come up gives you an advantage in terms of anticipating crunch situations.
  • What does your experience tell you about a situation: if your experience tells you something about a situation this has to be fully listened to in the current situation. Always think through issues in a rational and calm manner.

ALWAYS remember the Golden Rule of Ethical Management – if in doubt, don’t!

Good Luck!

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