Strengthening your Ethics as a Leader
“Ethics determine choices and actions and suggest difficult priorities.” – John Berger
As a leader standing up for what is right seems easy however sometimes it is the most challenging thing to do. Every day in our life we are confronted with different situations that need our response. This response is seen through our actions and our actions are guided by our ethics.
Ethics are a person’s set of morals, values and principles that guide their actions and enables them to differentiate between right and wrong.
But the problem is, are our ethics strong enough?
Let’s look at some scenarios around that.
What If you are an accountant working for a big company and you are the head of your department, receiving a large salary and many other great benefits. Your boss wants you to alter a small variable on the gross income or not to declare a certain amount of income to lessen the company’s taxes.
What will you do?
Let’s try another situation. You are a key leader in an organisation setting. In this organisation there is a work ethics problem manifesting in gossiping, bullying and harassment.
Again, what will you do?
I’ll leave those scenarios and questions for you to answer.
Our actions affect not only ourselves, but those around us as well. We carry our professional decisions on our shoulders as responsibilities. If we lie, cheat, steal or do nothing, even though those who are around us are doing it, we jeopardise our integrity and reputation as leaders.
Here are 4 useful tips to strengthen your ethical stance as a leader.
1. Set Clear Boundaries
If you are a leader who works in an organisation, set some basic, non-negotiable rules that help develop to a foundation of ethical behaviour in your workplace. An example of this is setting and advocating for company behaviour policies that address the topics such as, harassment, bullying, proper work attire and etc.
2. Strengthen your moral compass
Remember as a kid, when you were about to do something bad, there was a voice in your head that would whisper not to do it? That was your conscience and this conscience is rooted in your moral compass. Morals are your set of behaviour standards that define your belief of what is right and what is wrong. When we go astray from our morals, that voice that whispers in your head would eventually be gone and doing wrong things for you would seem right. Practice actively listening for your true inner conviction and act from it. Let your own inner voice guide you as you shut out the noise of a world that can sometimes compromise us.
3. Give importance to your values
Values are the lessons, beliefs and ideals that we gain from our experience. They have a big impact on us because we really care about these things and they really matter to us the most. Working hard, spending quality time with your family, respecting the elderly etc.
As a leader, we should be aligned with our values and share them with others. As you do this, your organisation’s values would be develop an environment of innovation, teamwork, and fairness.
4. Strengthen your principles
Your principles are your convictions. Principles are your strongly held standards, beliefs or ideals. You might set a standard for yourself to never smoke because you know smoking can destroy your body or, you will never stop learning because you know that continually growing is essential.
A leader with strong principles can strongly influence their people.
Doing what is right, even when others are not looking, is a trademark of a great leader. Challenges always comes but with strengthened ethics as your foundation, you can lead your people in the right way, not easily faltered or be tempted to do wrong.
Staying true to your morals, values and principles allow you to be an authentic leader. It empowers with confidence, knowing you do not need to become someone you are not, just to thrive and survive in your chosen career.
To attain and sustain this type of leadership, you must break free of the performance trap and speak your truth with power. Not always easy I know but it takes away all the anxiety and stress that comes from being someone that you are not.
As an executive mentor, I can help you to realign your compass and regain your authenticity. This was so rewarding for me, and the people around me, when my coach helped me to do this many years ago.
Contact me through my website to see how I can help you do the same.
Have a great week…you deserve it!