Let us assume that you are a leader of an organization (or plan to be one) with a number of employees reporting to you. Let us also assume that you are dedicated to running an ethical organization. So, what are some of the actions that you can take to ensure that your business operates in the manner that you want it to? Here are six key things that you should do:
1. First and foremost, you as the leader MUST always set the example for others to follow by performing all of your duties in an ethical manner. In short, you must LIVE the values daily. It is only then that you can insist that other people in the organization do the same thing. The fact is most people want to do what is right, good, just, and fair when they make decisions. The leader’s role is to constantly support such an “ethics first” philosophy by resisting the “siren call” of placing his or her own personal gain above that of the various stakeholders (e.g. owners, customers, and employees). The moment the maintenance of high ethics ceases to be a leader’s top priority, that’s when the seeds of organizational failure are first sown. REMEMBER, IT ALL STARTS AT THE TOP.
2. Make it your personal objective that operating ethically is the first and foremost priority of your organization. This is accomplished, once again, by the example you set by both word and deed. In addition, make sure ethical business operations are stressed in the corporate mission statement AND in the annual objectives.
3. Hire subordinates who have demonstrated day-in-day-out that they are people of high values.
4. Develop and implement appraisal and reward systems in your operation that reflect the importance of ethics in decision making. Remember, what gets rewarded; gets done.
5. In newsletters and public releases announcing key corporate decisions; mention the ethical factors that were given priority in making the decision. Also, publicly praise the ethical things employees do in their relationships with employees and customers. In other words; try to keep ethical considerations at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
6. Establish effective auditing systems to ensure that the organization’s ethical values are adhered too. And of course, take strong action whenever violations are discovered.
Written by Fred A. Manske. © Leadership Education and Development, Inc.