Are you living in line with your core values and ethics at work, home and in your community? Trusting relationships form the foundation of all ethical behavior. As a leader at any level within an organization, if you are serious about integrity, setting an ethical tone, and standard of leadership, you need to remember that your every choice, action and behavior will be judged by those you lead as being consistent or inconsistent with the ethical culture you are trying to create. Appearances do matter when it comes to ethical leadership.
Sadly, in many organizations, leaders say one thing and do the opposite. Many leaders lose sight of the fact that people react much more to what they do rather than what they say. If you as a leader are serious about integrity and creating an ethical culture within your organization, here are some things you can do to help you align your ethical beliefs, core values and vision with your behaviors, choices and actions:
Invest the time to discover, understand and integrate your core values and beliefs into your daily life so that, over time, they become automatic and are reflected in your choices and behaviors in your personal and professional life.
- Set reasonable boundaries, and be clear about the purpose and intent behind them. Seek out opportunities and organizations that share similar boundaries and intentions.
- Communicate your boundaries in word and deed. Discuss them with others in a positive way, focusing on what should be done and not just what can be done or is legally allowable.
- Make sure that your choices and actions benefit the common good and go beyond the minimum standards that are part of everyday business practices.
- When faced with an ethical dilemma, do not respond reactively. Step back and try to anticipate the consequences of taking certain actions in the long term. Choose long-term results over short-term gains and involve others in the process. Getting others involved gives you an opportunity to convey your values and ethics so that others know what should be done from watching you, and that will encourage their ethical behavior in similar situations.
- Remember that behaving ethically in the small things matters as much as behaving ethically in the large things.
- Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, do not forget that you become what you practice. Others will look at your choices and behaviors and decide who you are and how ethical you are. Ethical leaders know their core values and beliefs and have the courage to act and live in accordance with them in every aspect of their lives.
Are you walking the talk? Let me know what you do to walk the talk; I love to hear from you.